Miss Benson’s Beetle by Rachel Joyce is the official May 2022 pick for the Peanut Blossom Book Club for Recovering Readers.
Normally for our May book club pick I like to choose a story with a mothering theme in honor of Mother’s Day.
This year, I thought it would be fun to read a story about a middle aged woman heading off on a life-changing adventure with a friend as a reminder that we are never to old to try something daring and new.
This month’s book pick was strongly recommended by several of our book club members during their reviews last year and I can’t wait to dig in!
Peanut Blossom Book Club
This book club pick is one of the awesome books from our eighth year of book club.
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What is Miss Benson’s Beetle About?
“She’s going too far to go it alone.
It is 1950. London is still reeling from World War II, and Margery Benson, a schoolteacher and spinster, is trying to get through life, surviving on scraps. One day, she reaches her breaking point, abandoning her job and small existence to set out on an expedition to the other side of the world in search of her childhood obsession: an insect that may or may not exist—the golden beetle of New Caledonia.
When she advertises for an assistant to accompany her, the woman she ends up with is the last person she had in mind.
Fun-loving Enid Pretty in her tight-fitting pink suit and pom-pom sandals seems to attract trouble wherever she goes. But together these two British women find themselves drawn into a cross-ocean adventure that exceeds all expectations and delivers something neither of them expected to find: the transformative power of friendship.”
Miss Benson’s Beetle Discussion Questions
I believe the best book club questions to spark a lively discussion in your group help readers make personal connections to the story.
You can read about how to write the best book club questions on your own here, but hopefully these will get you started!
What did you think of this month’s pick? Would you have chosen it on your own?
Who would you cast in a movie adaptation for Miss Benson and Enid?
Why was the golden beetle so important to Miss Benson?
Do you have a “golden beetle” in your life?
What did you think was going to be inside the red valise? Were you surprised when it was finally opened?
Margery Benson goes on the adventure of a lifetime in search of her beetle and visits places far outside her comfort zone.
What is the farthest or most daring trip you’ve ever taken?
Where is the farthest you’d be willing to go?
Enid becomes Margery’s surprise “ride or die” friend. Who would you want with you on your next adventure?
How did you feel about how the men were portrayed in this book? Do you agree with this presentation?
Did the ending of the book ruin the rest of the story for you or did you feel it was a fitting way to wrap up the story?
Book Club Party Menu
Miss Benson is on an adventure to New Caledonia which is a French territory in the Caribbean.
For your book club party menu, how about serving some fun tropical-themed party foods like creamy pineapple and coconut fruit dip, savory crab melts, or an appetizer sized Caribbean soup and platter of roasted pineapple and peppers?
You Might Also Enjoy
If you loved Miss Benson’s Beetle, you might also like these books: