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Mr Doubler Begins Again - March book club

(40 Posts)
NatashaGransnet (GNHQ) Tue 12-Mar-19 13:14:53

Your copies of Mr Doubler Begins Again should be with you this week, so please do leave your thoughts and questions for author Seni Glaister on the thread below once you've finished reading.

We'll give you a little more time to read them with the delay in getting the books to you, but please post your questions sooner rather than later. smile

If you've bought a copy yourself, you're also very welcome to join the conversation.

Happy reading! brew

gardenoma Wed 13-Mar-19 20:42:48

I received my copy this morning, thanks GN. Added to the pile marked "waiting to be read" but will make a start this week...hopefully!

mary51 Thu 14-Mar-19 15:38:20

This book is set high on the Sussex Downs and is the story of a man devoted to his potato growing, living alone with the help of a daily housekeeper. It is beautifully drawn picture of the landscape, the view from his house on a wintry day above the clouds. A self sufficient man who finds his two adult children apparently at variance and a wife who has gone. Why and how she went only comes out at the end.

He misses his daily lunch with the housekeeper when she is admitted to hospital and from then on there are daily phone calls with her and you can really hear them talking.
She encourages him to get out and' meet new people' and he goes along to an animal shelter to offer some help.

From then on there is a cast of entirely believable, mostly friendly, characters and Mr Doubler with his love of baking and cake and gin manages to make a difference to each of their lives, in practical ways. I loved what he did for Maddie, and her talk of her sons and her little house rings so true for some people. And Olive whose grandchildren live so far away. He brings characters together.

Also very poignant are his long talks with Mrs Millwood the housekeeper and her telling him of other patients on the ward. Some of it is very funny, laugh out loud moments especially describing Maureen and her knitting.
The end is especially sad but on the whole the book ends on a hopeful note for all the characters.

You feel as if you are in this landscape, sharing their concerns about their grown up children and grandchildren. I thoroughly enjoyed it and have learned quite a bit about potatoes and botanical gin!! It is a quick and easy read albeit with a few far-fetched incidents. I would recommend as a good read.

Questions for Seni Glaister:
1. Will there be a sequel? (I am wondering if Olive goes down under to visit).

2. Do you grow potatoes yourself?

Jishere Sun 17-Mar-19 13:57:34

This is a lovely book, cleverly written by Seni Glaister. The main character Mr Doubler transforms from an anxious, lonely, nerdy potato farmer into a friendly, caring and not so awkward man who eventually tells his son that his not nice when all he is interested in is his father's money. This is down to his friendship with Mrs Millwood who he misses dearly when she becomes poorly and there telephone conversations become a bit of an escape for both of them. There is many themes running through this book, the need for routine, the need to really communicate by talking rather than texting or messenging, spreading kindness, the need for friendship and care, don't judge, a book by its cover (like the cover of this book, it read like a children's book to me) people are often misunderstood and if only we get to know them. What I love is the characters are anylased in the book so you get a good idea of why they are like they are, with thoughtful Doubter trying to bring out the best in people to report back to Mrs Millwood. Family is a huge part of this book although you can go through the motion like the Doubters family Sunday dinner but still not feel wholly close to them. They go through the same experience like the mum, Doubter's wife leaving but they have different views and experiences of it and of course Julian has empathy for no one but himself.
My main big take from this book is put down your phones and pick up the phone or meet up for a chat or coffee. Or this world will produce more Julians who are obessed only with themselves and of course with the click click of technology.
I would like to know: The book is left uncertain with the direction of Mrs Millwood and Doubter although we know he has asked her to be his wife, does she recover? Do they live happily ever after? Most of all I do think this is an ingenious way to leave the story because it's left to.the readers imagination and again when we know there is certainties in life there is also hope. A gem of book. Thanks for allowing me to read.

Gagagran Sun 17-Mar-19 14:34:40

What a super book! I loved it and want to say that it proves that a good story full of everyday people will always hold ones interest. I couldn't help but warm to the characters and even found myself comparing them to people I know in real life! I smiled a lot as I read it and laughed aloud more than once. My time was well spent reading this lovely story, full of heartwarming kindness. Recommend this book to everyone.

Sarahmob Mon 18-Mar-19 07:34:22

This was an uplifting and inspiring book and was an absolute pleasure to read.
Doubler is a man who finds solace in routine,solitude, potatoes and gin! At the beginning of the book he seems to be pedantic and bombastic (I wondered if he might be on the Autistic spectrum) but it becomes clear that this is his way of coping with the deal life has dealt him.
The story charts his recovery from a deep depression, pushed by his housekeeper to re-engage with the outside world. He finds friends who value and respect him, he heals some family hurts and finds the passion to stand up to other family problems and finally finds new love as he proposes to his housekeeper who is in reality his best friend.
It serves as a reminder not to underestimate those people who are older but that we all have contribution to make to life. A great theme for a book.

I’d like to know if there’s to be a sequel - what happens to Mrs Milwood, does the Colonel master the laundry to save his marriage and does Camilla benefit from her father’s new insights?

Cherrytree59 Mon 18-Mar-19 14:13:24

Thank you to the GNers who have provided a synopsis that is clear and succinct👍.
So I will not add another summary.
My thoughts....
A pleasant and sometimes thought provoking story.

Set in winter to allow the potato farmer time to make and receive phone calls from a lady on a mission to help the recluse see that there was more to life than his 'potato legacy'.

The use of baking, gin to give the feeling of comfort and warmth did not quite hold up for me.
It is often used in similar type novels the hero/ heroine opens a cafe, bakery etc.

If Doubler was a recluse with no visitors then who was eating the scones, fruitcake, lemon drizzle cake?

The Gin making was used for bartering, fair enough.
Where I felt it went too far was trying to make the gin more than it was by alluding to magical properties.
Autumn and Summer gin.
It reminded of me of Joanne Harris and BlackBerry wine.
Imho Harris does it better as her novel revolves around the blackberry wine.
Whereas in this novel it is almost an after thought to make the gin sound more interesting.

When spring arrives I would have thought a single farmer with no help he would be out in the fields.
The volunteers were a mixed bunch as volenteers usually are.
I did not really warm to any of them including Olive who just need a kick up the bum.
Nothing stop her visiting her children and grandchildren.

Doubler did grow as a character and agree with poster who mentioned that his single mindedness could be put him on the autism spectrum.
When he conversed with Mrs Millwood he launched into conversation without any thought about asking how she was, how she was feeling or how her treatment was coming along. May be just head in the sand.

Doubler had no pets. Farm dog? cats?
Was this because he lacked empathy with living things or it would just somthing to get in the way of 'Potato experimentation?'

As far his children are concerned, well its almost You reap what you sow
Children had tough time.
Sounds like he never considered any counceling for them or gave them a chance to say how they were feeling or coping. (Different times?)
And now treating his sick friend in the same manner!

No extended family Grandparents?
Julian was a product of his parents problems.
He was as driven as his father with a one track mind.
Camilla was trying to give her children everything she had missed growing up
These two facts were the most believable and thought provoking of the book.
He showed almost disdain for his children and grandchildren.
A glimmer of hope when a young grandchild mentionrd that the roast poatoes cooked by Doubler were better and the mothers and then went on to explain why.

I am not sure if the reader is supposed to grow like or admire the potato farmer by the end of story.
For me it was neither.
He had his good points and his bad points does everybody.

I did find the Apple information provided by Mrs Milwood interesting and went in someway to explaining the authors idea of the singleminded fruit or vegetable growers of the world, who are driven to producing The best tasting, disease free food such as Apples, Barley, Potatoes etc

The question is are they doing it to help feed the world or a mention in the history books?

Cherrytree59 Mon 18-Mar-19 14:26:50

Apologies
My post has several mistakes!
I hope anyone reading gets the gist.

After writing I thought I had pressed preview but unfortunately I must have pressed post! shock

CariGransnet (GNHQ) Tue 19-Mar-19 10:13:17

One book-clubber has suggested one question per person, to avoid duplication and also to make it easier for others who might want to ask things but find everything has already been posted. So let's give it a try and see how it goes.

mbody Tue 19-Mar-19 15:54:39

I stuck with the book to the end but wasn’t thrilled by it. Mr. Doubler was a bit of a know it all and who ate all the baking before he found some friends? I couldn’t find empathy with the characters and thought the whole thing not quite believable. Not one for me,

GrannieAnnie123 Tue 19-Mar-19 16:40:04

Thankyou for my free copy. Really enjoyed it despite my initial reaction of "Potatoes!" Not sure on this one!
But hooked as I went on! Thought it was a book of our times incorporating loneliness, secrets and mental health.
Loved the way Mrs Millwood manipulated him so he was forced to make friends and a life before she died. Very sad that he didn't profess his love before it was too late.
Lovely read!

Jishere Tue 19-Mar-19 20:26:06

Hi would just like to ask a question when the author answers questions where do you post them? Do you ask them everyone's questions or just a few?

annemac101 Fri 22-Mar-19 13:20:21

It took me ages to get into this book. After that it read quite well but now with not much further to go I'm really fed up with it. I have found it so slow and a bit boring to be truthful. I usually pass my books on to friends but I just know they won't be interested in this one. Sorry!

Alygran Sat 23-Mar-19 15:18:33

Just finished this. Like others it took a bit of getting into but in the end a pleasant enough story to while away a few hours. Mrs M is the catalyst for Doubler to play an important part for others. I like his character of determination, strength and kindness. What was the verdict in the letter? Does Mrs M get well? Will there be a sequel?

Catmanic Sat 23-Mar-19 21:54:15

Thank you for my book.
I must admit that I have found this book a real struggle, and I haven’t find the characters very believable. I am still struggling through it so maybe I will begin to enjoy it more soon.
I don’t like giving up on a book.
Lovely to read that some people loved it and want a sequel, it’s a good job we all have different tastes.

Harris27 Sat 23-Mar-19 22:05:40

This was a book I wish I'd won it looks and sounds my type might drop a hint for. Mother's Day!

toscalily Tue 26-Mar-19 11:38:38

The main theme of the book is potato growing and Mr Doubler's research over a long period of time. Somewhat slow but the characters do evolve enough to be reasonably interesting, some more likeable than others. Is it really about starting over or endings? I found his quite sudden transformation to be a little unbelievable given that he (Mr Doubler) had been a recluse for many years. No satisfactory conclusion either, did he discover the wonder potato or not? Points for discussion perhaps?

Anannymous Thu 28-Mar-19 13:54:14

Thank you for my copy which I have just finished. I am still trying to decide whether I enjoyed it or not! In my opinion it was well written and was easy to read. I also felt that the Mr Doubler at the end of the book bore no resemblance to the character at the beginning although I appreciate that, perhaps, that was the point of the book, it just seemed to happen very quickly. Wouldn’t it be lovely if there were more Mrs. M’s in this world. I think I would like there to be a follow up book.

Nanabanana1 Fri 29-Mar-19 06:40:34

Thank you for my book, sorry couldn’t get into it really, persevered though but not my cup of tea. Glad that others enjoyed it.
My question for the author, did she base Mr Doubler on someone she knows and how did she choose to make him obsessed with growing potatoes?

Miriam Sun 31-Mar-19 17:35:50

Having just finished reading this book I must admit I found it very slow to start with but it picked up midway and then I began to enjoy it a lot more. I found the ending very sad and would love to know if we were meant to presume that Mrs M sadly died. I hope not and I so hope Doubler found happiness in later life. The descriptions of farming life read very well and I can see that the author actually lives on a farm, which explains a lot.
I hope we will have more from Seni Glaister soon.

luanda111 Mon 01-Apr-19 11:49:38

Thanks for sending me this brilliant book. I really enjoyed to read it. I have Aspergers (mild autism) so reading is my passion. I enjoy when book characters come from the autistic spectrum too. It makes our life easier when other people can see our problems and our funny life from inside through a fiction. Thanks a lot, Seni Glaister, for writing this book. Am I right Mr. Doubler has autism? Did you make researches about autism to write this book?

Liberty2 Mon 01-Apr-19 13:07:24

At first, I have to admit, I wasn’t sure if I was going to like this book, but after a few chapters, I settled into it and really enjoyed the story opening up. I loved the way Doubler finds confidence in his new found worth helping others at the shelter, all inspired by his conversations with Mrs M.

Mapleleaf Mon 01-Apr-19 17:33:32

I found this book took a while to get going with, and kept putting it down, as the first few chapters were hard going, I felt. However, I'm persevering, and although I'm not at the end yet, I am enjoying it.
I would like to ask Seni is "Mr Doubler" an amalgamation of people she has encountered?
I would like to say a big thank you for the book.

CariGransnet (GNHQ) Tue 02-Apr-19 16:45:41

Jishere

Hi would just like to ask a question when the author answers questions where do you post them? Do you ask them everyone's questions or just a few?

Hi Jishere

We send over all the questions - we can't guarantee they will all be answered but all the answers we get are posted here on the thread

teegle Tue 02-Apr-19 16:50:11

I loved this book. I thought the portrayal of the loneliness that more than one of the characters displayed in different ways was beautifully done. I found the book amusing in parts and moving in others and very different to anything else I have read. I have recommended it to lots of people. My question for the author is, I loved all the descriptions of the food, though they made me hungry! Are you a foodie? I would have thought so from reading your book but I may be wrong