For those of the book club returning to this book, it retained its ability to be simultaneously sad but funny. There was a general consensus that it was a worthwhile if sad/downbeat read.
The discussion turned to the fact that all the parent–child relationships depicted were dysfunctional, and even the close sibling relationships depicted were not enough to keep them together, or even in contact, were things that the discussion repeatedly circled back to. Especially poignant against the background of these distant, unsatisfying relationships was the fact that her two surviving daughters rallied around Bunty’s death bed, allowing themselves the closure that the affection that they had craved would never materialise now. In an interesting cycle of conjunctions, the nurse attending Bunty seemed likely to have been the daughter Doreen had had to give up earlier in her life – Doreen who provided the single week of something most closely mothering that the sisters (Bunty’s daughters) are shown to have had. It is sadly fitting that Doreen is one of George’s mistresses; the only moments of happiness Bunty is shown to experience in her marriage are whilst she is having an affair. Some of the depictions of family life especially hit home since they seemed familiar to the readers’ own experiences.