It was a Saturday morning in May of 2013. We were seated around a table in the meeting room at Lackman Library discussing The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly, when one of our members pronounced, “I thought it was schmaltzy.” Ding! I grabbed my phone (sorry, I know my book club pals would probably prefer I keep the phone tucked away during meetings), opened my notepad app and scrolled down to my “words” entry and added, “schmaltzy”. What a wonderful word. You almost can’t say it without sneering or smirking. For the record, I thoroughly enjoyed The Tea Rose, as did many in our group. Several of us went on to read the follow-up novels, The Winter Rose and The Wild Rose. But this gal is tough, and it’s rare that she wholeheartedly embraces many of our picks. I’m tickled to report that the one book she liked this year was one I’d selected, John Green’s widely popular young adult novel, The Fault in Our Stars. Oddly, that’s one that I think a number of people who haven’t read it would be tempted to call schmaltzy. But it’s not. Not at all. Okay, so where does schmaltzy come from? It’s Yiddish, of course! It comes from the term schmalts, which literally means “melted fat.” It’s used to refer to things that are excessively sentimental. So why the picture of Hugh Jackman, a cute kid, and a robot? Um, because when I did an image search for schmaltzy, this came up. And I couldn’t resist an excuse to post a pre-beard Hugh. The photo was found on a movie reviewer’s blog post review of the film, Real Steel, which I kinda want to see now to decide if it embodies schmaltzy or not.