Title: The Thursday Night Club
Author: Steven Manchester
Back cover blurb:
Five college friends have been getting together every Thursday night to share humble meals and an abundance of laughter. But when tragedy takes one of them, leaving the others to question the fairness of life, the Thursday Night Club decides to embark on a contest in memory of the generous spirit of their fallen friend. The objective of the contest is simple: whoever performs the kindest deed by Christmas night wins the pot – four quarters. And there are only two conditions: the benevolent deed must be anonymous, and it cannot cost a single penny to pull off.
As the four friends undertake the contest, the healing begins and they become inspired beyond their expectations. There might be a winner in this competition, but it is very clear there will be no losers.
I picked up this novella on a whim – partly because it was short, and partly because I liked the concept of a “good deeds” competition. It took me a while to get around to starting it, but once I did, I devoured it in about an hour.
The Thursday Night Club is very short, bordering on short story length, so I can’t really say I got to know any of the characters really well. There were Kevin and Randy the pranksters and Jesse the slightly-less-prankster, all typical college guys, and Ava and Izzy, nice if somewhat bland girls.
The plot is pretty simple, and pretty well explained in the blurb. Surprisingly, the character who dies doesn’t die until about a third of the way through the book. The first third focuses on a prank war between the boys – which was okay, but was not what I signed up for (plus, I’m not a huge fan of pranks).
The good deeds competition, though, was awesome. I loved watching the four remaining friends figure out ways to help people and meet specific needs in their community. It made me want to go out and do something for people in my community. And there were some great life lessons on generosity and helping people, too. (And it was also kinda Christmasy, which made me happy since Christmas is so close.) I honestly wish that part had been longer.
I expected to enjoy this story, but I didn’t expect to love it – or to feel so inspired when I finished. It left me wanting to go out and do something like that with my friends. Or maybe just do something on my own. I recommend the read just for the story, but maybe once you’ve read it, you’ll be inspired to help people, too.
I received a free review copy of The Thursday Night Club from the author. His generosity in no way influenced, or sought to influence, this review.
For more on my grading system, please see this page.