Trying out new things is a great way to interact with your friends. You can indulge in something they like, and they can do the same for your interests.
That’s what twHarryBookClub thought when her friend invited her to a book club. The two moms thought it would be great for their group when their kids all play together.
But the original poster had an issue with the direction the club took, and wants to back out. She asks the “Am I the A**hole” subReddit the question “Would I be the A**hole” (WIBTA) if she backed out of the club?
Especially since her friend is being so controlling about it.
“WIBTA for Bailing on a Book Club that Only Reads Harry Potter?”
But shouldn’t she try to see what her friend likes?
“There’s a friend of mine (41F[emale]), Millie (35F) who recently discussed starting a book club and inviting some other mothers to it. A time for all of us to meet up, have the kids play together, talk about a book, and relax.”
“I thought this sounded like a good idea, I’m a pretty avid reader when I have the time for it, so I said it sounded like a great idea.”
“Ahead of the first meeting, Millie told me that the first book we’d be reading would be Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I wasn’t exactly thrilled to hear this, I was under the impression that we’d be reading books written for adults.”
“But I figured, hey, I can read Harry Potter for the first month.”
“Kind of halfheartedly, I read the Harry Potter book. It was okay. It wasn’t bad, it’s just not the kind of thing I wanted to read in my spare time.”
“I might have enjoyed reading it with my daughter, but she had already tried to read it a few years ago and didn’t like it.”
“Even so, I went to the book club, and we had a nice enough time. It was kind of obvious that Millie was much more into the book than anyone else there, but we still had a good time chatting amongst ourselves, and some people had some interesting insights.”
“At the end of the meeting, though, Millie said, ‘Okay, well let’s meet again on the last Monday of next month, this time for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.’”
“I was floored. So were some of the other mothers. One of them asked Millie if this was just a Harry Potter book club, and Millie immediately got very defensive, asking what was wrong with finishing a series now that we started it.”
“That same mother said she didn’t really want to read more Harry Potter, and that we should read something else, and Millie insisted that she was in charge of the book club. That mother, and one other, said that they no longer wanted to take part, and it all ended on a pretty bad note.”
“I’ve thought about it, and I’m not so sure I want to stay in either. But I know if I quit, it will upset Millie, just as much as the other moms upset her, if not more because this would leave only three people in the club. WIBTA if I quit this club?”
“tl;dr my friend started a book club, and then revealed it was basically a harry potter book club. Some other moms quit, and it really upset her. I want to quit too, but I don’t want to hurt her feelings. WIBTA if I did it anyway?”
While OP was initially excited for the book club, her friend’s choice of books leaves a lot to be desired. Would it be the worst thing if she decided to quit?
On Reddit, the users of the board judged OP for wanting to quit the book club because her friend only wants to read Harry Potter by including one of the following in their response:
- NTA – Not the A**hole
- YTA – You’re the A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everybody Sucks Here
While some people enjoy the Harry Potter series, they aren’t for everyone. And while the group humored Millie, they didn’t think they were signing up to several months of the series.
OP wouldn’t be TA for wanting to quit, but Millie needs to let her friends have a say. Otherwise, more will quit.
The board agreed that Millie was being controlling, and OP is NTA.
“Millie wants a Harry Potter book club and doesn’t seem to be able to handle the fact that not every one of her friends is a Potterhead. Be kind but firm and set your boundaries.”
“No reason to stay in a club you don’t enjoy to keep from hurting Millie’s feelings. An adult should be able to handle other adults having different preferences without feeling hurt about it.” – ShameOstricH
“This right here. A book club takes input from ALL members on what is to be read and also allows more time to acquire the book. You should also take turns being the discussion leader.”
“Have an honest talk with your friend and explain that you’re not interested in a Harry Potter club. If she is willing to change, it may save the club.” – johnny9k
“NTA. That isn’t really a book club. That’s a forced co-read.”
“Book clubs involve everyone having input towards the selection of the book. Could you discuss with Mellie everyone voting on the next read instead of just continuing Harry Potter.”
“She’s welcome to continue reading the book, but it seems more like she wants an excuse to talk about the books (which there are dozens of willing outlets if that’s the case) but it isn’t fair to make your friends a captive audience to do so.” – Agreeable-Tale9729
“My mom’s been in a book club for going on 20 years (probably more like 30 at this point). At the end of each year, each member puts up some books for next year, and then they all vote on them.”
“That way everyone gets a say on what they read, and they also get lots of lead time to source and read the books. Someone is also appointed a lead researcher, and a host for each month, but it’s never the same person doing both jobs, and everyone takes a turn periodically.”
“Usually if they nominated the book, that person takes on the research position and leads the discussion.”
“From what I can tell, there’s been very little drama using this system. I suspect they worked out the kinks years ago.” – hot-whisky
“NTA And ask the other quitting members if they want to start a book club with you where you rotate who picks the books. That’s half the joy of being in a book club, you get to discover authors you mightn’t read on your own.”
“Sometimes you realize you don’t like the author, and sometimes you love them, but unless stated initially, there should be variation on the books you read in a book club.”
“In the one I’m in, we’ve read everything from Jules Verne to Stephen King, Richard Osman to Herta Müller, Bernard Cornwell to Tove Jansson.” – KeyFly3
While the controlling nature of Millie and the fact that multiple members have expressed a disinterest in the series is plenty reason to not want to continue in the book club, there’s another layer here.
The author of the Harry Potter series has been controversial for her bigoted opinions about trans people.
And not everyone wants to support that.
“NTA not only does it sound like a boring book club (aren’t they supposed to be diverse and get you thinking of the themes, the story and why things happen the way they do, what you enjoyed about the writing and didn’t (it doesn’t sound like your friend would be happy if you didn’t enjoy it)), JK Rowling has been blasted by many book readers for quite some time now due to her insensitive and quite frankly demeaning comments towards LGBTQIA+ community.”
“Many people who were acid potterheads have left the series behind, don’t show the books ok their ‘shelfies’ and don’t give her any free advertisements. She is problematic at best, and deeply phobic at worst.”
“Not an author you should be suggesting people go out and buy, especially if those people may not know her background.” – nudul
“NTA. Ignoring that Harry Potter is insanely problematic, written for children/YA, and long, the series also has SEVEN books. Nobody can possibly be expecting a group of people to wait 7 months for the possibility of maybe reading a book they might like.”
“Her little power trip is also enough reason to leave, I wouldn’t want to meet up once a month for someone to boss my reading habits around… If Millie wants a Harry Potter club, she could’ve made one instead of trying to claim its a book club.” – wormlover14
“NTA. Also, don’t support JKR or any of her works. She’s a massive transphobe, racist and antisemite.”
“She considers anyone who supports her work to agree with her views, and she puts a lot of money into anti-trans causes. Supporting JKR is like supporting Chick Fil A.” – Amazing_Excuse_3860
OP would not be TA for quitting, but it’s obviously going to cause issues with Millie. She needs to be careful about how she disentangles herself from this situation.