Review: Supper Club by Lara Williams

supper club lara williams

Rating: ★★★★☆

Categories: Literary Fiction, Contemporary Fiction

Goodreads / Skoob / The StoryGraph

Roberta spends her life trying not to take up space. At almost thirty, she is adrift and alienated from life. Stuck in a mindless job and reluctant to pursue her passion for food, she suppresses her appetite and recedes to the corners of rooms. But when she meets Stevie, a spirited and effervescent artist, their intense friendship sparks a change in Roberta, a shift in her desire for more. Together, they invent the Supper Club, a transgressive and joyous collective of women who gather to celebrate, rather than admonish, their hungers. They gather after dark and feast until they are sick; they break into private buildings and leave carnage in their wake; they embrace their changing bodies; they stop apologizing. For these women, each extraordinary yet unfulfilled, the club is a way to explore, discover, and push the boundaries of the space they take up in the world. Yet as the club expands, growing both in size and rebellion, Roberta is forced to reconcile herself to the desire and vulnerabilities of the body–and the past she has worked so hard to repress. Devastatingly perceptive and savagely funny, Supper Club is an essential coming-of-age story for our times.

This book is incredibly visceral. These women get together for Supper Club to let themselves take up more space for that one night, behaving wildly and letting their bodies (and themselves) change unapologetically. As a quiet, boringly polite woman, this was incredible to read – it made me uncomfortable (which is the point of the book) and made me wonder about my own taking up of space and how I bend over backwards to not be rude to people who might just deserve it.

I found the synopsis a little misleading – there is a lot of Supper Club going on, of course, but most of the book we spend learning about Roberta’s difficult past through flashbacks and how her traumas shaped the person she is now, the person who wants to feel free and subsequently starts the Supper Club meetings. The flashbacks are a little confusing and at times, as well.

It was at times really hard to read this. Roberta’s past has a lot of abuse and some readers might find a lot of this triggering. There is a self-harm scene which is very descriptive and took me four tries to finish reading, also because it was a bit romanticized by the character. The trigger warnings include rape, self-harm, fatphobia, eating disorder, depression, anxiety, misgendering of a trans character.

There is a lot of description of food, which is one of the best things about this book. I had lots of fun coordinating reading this with whenever we had big cooking plans at home. Honestly, it was the most satisfying way to read it – right before having a feast.

Supper Club reminded me a bit of Bunny in the beginning and of My Dark Vanessa in other parts – it’s quite interesting that the books that came to mind the most when reading this are both on our Book Blogger Longlist. This reminded me strongly of The Pisces, too, in terms of writing style and the story being about a woman who is dealing with trauma and making bad decisions (with horrible men) and behaving badly, plus the plot has that weird element that you either hate or love. I think this won’t be a book for every reader out there, but if you enjoyed any of the books above, then you will probably like Supper Club!

11 thoughts on “Review: Supper Club by Lara Williams

  1. Ooh, reading this right before having a feast sounds like the perfect combination! I’m so glad you liked this one even though there were some difficult parts. And I’m so intrigued by the MDV and The Pisces similarities! Can’t wait to read this now!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I was so amused by your efforts to coordinate the descriptions of food in the book with your food at home! That’s such a fun way to read this book. I’m intrigued now by the role of food in the book and its connection with messy women. Great review 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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