Tuesday, 24 May 2011

The Help - Questions

Hello everyone,

Here are some questions to think about for Thursdays meeting.

- What do you think motivated Hilly? On the one hand she is terribly cruel to Aibileen and her own help, as well as to Skeeter once she realizes that she can’t control her. Yet she’s a wonderful mother. Do you think that one can be a good mother but, at the same time, a deeply flawed person?

- How much of a person’s character would you say is shaped by the times in which they live?

- Do you think that had Aibileen stayed working for Miss Elizabeth, that Mae Mobley would have grown up to be racist like her mother? Do you think racism is inherent, or taught?

- From the perspective of a twenty-first century reader, the hairshellac system that Skeeter undergoes seems ludicrous. Yet women still alter their looks in rather peculiar ways as the definition of “beauty” changes with the times. Looking back on your past, what’s the most ridiculous beauty regimen you ever underwent?

- What did you think about Minny’s pie for Miss Hilly? Would you have gone as far as Minny did for revenge?

I think this book is going to create a lot of discussion.

Questions from authors own website.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Advice for Strays - Justine Kilkerr

This months bookclub was a little light on members due to all the bank holidays before and after it. Nicola brought along the refreshments this month, so we all had larger cake slices than usual to make up for everyone else.

This book seems to have stumped a large amount of the book club, almost half the people at the meeting had not managed to read through to the end. Some also said they might not finish it after hearing what was discussed in the meeting.

We all felt that the book was very well written, it read very easily even though the topic itself was very confusing. Many people in the club felt that although they weren't gripped enough to want to pick the book up as often as they felt they should, once they had picked it up they got drawn back in very quickly. Some people found the little chapters to be a hinderance to their getting drawn into the book, others felt that this gave some good natural breaks to the narration.

The reason why so many people weren't gripped by the book was because it didn't have much of a plot, but then that's not what this book is about. It was felt that the book didn't go anywhere much, things just seemed to happen without much obvious direction. The ending we found to be good, but it wasn't much of a resolution, but then again this is more realistic than many neat endings in other books.

The main source for discussion came from the lion Jericho, and whether he was real or not. There seems to be a lot of evidence in the book to say that he was very real at certain points. But then again how can a lion be really living in a suburban street and talking to a person? We had a short discussion on what we each do to give ourselves more confidence, in the same way that Marnie uses Jericho. This gave us some insight into the reasons why someone would invent an imaginary friend later in life. Eventually we all agreed that Jericho is a very subjective character in the book, everyone seemed to interpret him very differently.

Overall we gave the book a 4 out of 10 with marks ranging from 0 to 7.

Advice for Strays - Questions

Hello everyone,

Here are some questions for the book for the 28th April.

- You may want to take a look at your own sanity before judging characters in the book. Okay so perhaps you don’t have a talking lion curled up in your front room, but do you ever whisper words of encouragement to yourself? Or pretend to be someone else for the day – someone stronger, smarter, more confident?

- How do you feel about the ending of the book? Are there too many loose ends?

- Is Jericho a figment of Marnie's frazzled mind, or the physical manifestation of all her worries and despair? And whatever Jericho is, can he help Marnie rely on herself for once?

Questions inspired by Running in Heels.