Blogger Book Club: Beautiful Ruins

From the moment I picked up Beautiful Ruins, I couldn't put it down. This book was a bit more scandalous than what I would generally read, but Jess Walter writes so well. He has a true talent for weaving and interweaving story lines. I am hooked, the day I finished, I made a quick trip to the library for another one of his books, The Financial Lives of Poets.

But back to Beautiful Ruins. I really liked it. I started off taking great notes for book club, and then was swept away in the story, so here you have it. My thoughts, reactions and questions for you:

The beginning of the book makes a big to-do over Michael Deane's signed business cards, a free pass, if you will. Is there someone who you know who you could call if you ever need anything? I have a former boss that I still keep in touch with that is the pseudo Michael Deane in my life. If I ever needed to jump back into the working world, needed career advice, or had an idea that needed brainstorming, he would most likely be there to help. I also had a family I baby sat throughout high school and college. Any time I need money, they found an odd job or reason to hire me. Friends and connections like this have made a huge impact on me. I hope some day to be the Michael Deane in someone's life, minus the grotesque amount of plastic surgery and penchant for using people. 

Do you have dreams/ambitions for your town, a place you love, or your career? Do you find your self settling (like Claire) or continuing to press on amidst mockery (like Pasquale)?

Shane has and ACT tattoo, symbolizing the motto his dad gave him (which he originally thought was a bible verse). Do you have a verse or a life motto that propels your forward?

What is your initial reaction to Dee Moray?

There are so many individual story lines interwoven in this book. Which stories were you drawn to most? I found myself drawn to both Alvis Bender and Pasquale. I wanted them to be life long friends and reach their dreams. I also really wanted to hear more about Shane's pitch, Donner!

In the final chapter, the stories are all wrapped up - the main characters, Claire, Michael Deane, Pasquale, Debra Moore, Pat and Lydia as well as even minor characters. What surprised you the most in the end? I was shocked by how little Pasquale and Debra story lined was wrapped I kept flipping the final page, stunned that the book had actually ended. The other story lines all wrapped up well...I felt cheated out of reading about the time Pasquale and Debra spent together.  However, I was glad Walter introduced the story of the bunker painter.

Did you read Beautiful Ruins?

What have been your top reads this summer?

Will you also join us next month for Glennon Melton's book,
Carry On, Warrior: Thoughts on Life Unarmed?


Disclaimer: compensated affiliate links may be used in this post.


  1. I just picked this up yesterday; hoping I can finish quickly and join the club!

  2. I honesty had a hard time getting into this book based on the first chapter. Once I understood there were multiple story lines all interconnected in some way, I couldn't wait to find out the next twist. I was disappointed in the ending, I wish we heard more about Pasquale and Amadea, Pasquale and Dee. But in the end, we find that things are not always what they seem, and one person's story can have a profound impact on another's. Our lives are deeply connected in one way or another.

  3. i want to read this just based on the cover :)



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