Archive for November, 2011

Mr Chartwell – questions please!

“I don’t like standing near the edge of a platform when an express train is passing through. I like to stand right back and if possible get a pillar between me and the train. I don’t like to stand by the side of a ship and look down into the water. A second’s action would end everything. A few drops of desperation.” – Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

Mr Chartwell is based on the infamous ‘Black Dog’ which Winston Churchill mentioned on many occasion in reference to his depression – or a manifestation of it to be precise. Rebecca Hunt’s novel is based around Mr Chartwell (the Black Dog) and how he worms his way into the life of a young widow whilst relentlessly hounding (no pun intended) Winston Churchill.

Our group was a little mixed on this book. Some thoroughly enjoyed it, others despised it and some merely thought it was OK. One thing that we did all agree on was the lack of conversation we could drum up about the book. The story itself is pretty much based around the theme ‘depression’ and there is very little else to talk about. I even spent quite some time searching for suitable book group questions on the internet to find nothing but a few interviews with questions such as ‘If Maf the Dog and Mr Chartwell were to have a fight who do you think would win?’ Inspiring stuff, but not quite what I was looking for.

After finding little to talk about we found ourselves discussing previous books, potential books, films we’ve seen, films due out and had a nice cup of tea with some biscuits. That pretty much sums up the discussion of the book I’m afraid!

So, a bit of a short post this time, I just hope that we can have more to say about our next book – When God was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman – so until then, goodbye for now!

About the group

The Tees Valley Book Group meets at Stockton Central Library at 6.30pm on the first Tuesday of the month.

If you would like more information about what the group is reading, please visit


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