The book & the movie:: The tiny amount that I read didn't really give me a good enough taste to have a real opinion of the book. I found the first chapter to have a lot of detail that didn't seem necessary to the overall story, but the introduction of the "epic lovestory" was enough to make me interested in continuing to read. When I ran out of time, I thought that I might enjoy picking the book back up at a later time and finishing. After I watched the movie, I changed my mind. I found the whole thing very self-indulgent. The characters were not likable and the idea that these two people had been in love with each other for 50+ years seemed very silly. It appeared that the reader/viewer was meant to sympathize with the two protagonists but no one in our group did. They kept referring to Florentino as "the stalker guy," which I thought fit him perfectly. The acting in the movie was pretty bad too, which I was surprised about since I normally like Javier Bardem. He's even less attractive in this movie than in No Country for Old Men, which is hard considering the awful haircut.
Phew, much better!
Spark Notes: I employed one of time-honored traditions of high-schoolers by reading the Cliffs Notes. Except, instead of being little black and yellow booklets, you can read online via Sparknotes.com (though Cliffs Notes also have their own website now). They were very informative and I probably got the more out of these than the book or movie!
It was nice to be part of the group and have an adult discussion, but we all agreed that in the future the hostess will choose something a little less arduous.