Book Club Qs

Reading this selection in your book club, or planning to? Here are some discussion questions about Gardenia Duty to get you going…

  1. Similar to Louisa May Alcott’s novel, Little Women, the core family consists of a military father/step-father and mother of four daughters. As in real life, birth order tends to contribute to childhood experiences. Are there situations and/or characters you can identify with? If so, how?
  2. Gardenia Duty is told from two voices: male and female, child and adult. Are there situations and/or characters you can identify with, if so, how?
  3. Bobby and Rose’s moral and social development occurred post-WWII and The Great Depression. What cultural influences shape the actions of them, especially before they marry?
  4. The sisters were born into a family whose lifestyle was governed by their fathers’ US Navy careers. Eventually, the oldest daughter pleads with her step-father to find a way to put down roots in Charleston, SC. Do you think the frequent relocations had a negative impact on the childhoods of the girls? In contrast, a positive impact in their bonding?
  5. Just like Bobby’s role on his naval destroyers, Rose managed the family routine during his absence at sea. Each sister’s role mirrored seniority and chain of command to their mother. Do you think it contributed or hindered the relationships? Or was it even a factor?
  6. Hollywood and television series centered on what was called The Traditional Middle Class family life. Elizabeth and her sisters will be products of a divorce. Do you think it was a social hurdle for them in childhood or in adult choices?
  7. The book introduces Bobby turning 18 and facing registering with Selective Services due to the military conscription still in existence. This launches him to leave his childhood home and eventually crosses paths with Rose and her daughters. The author uses Bobby’s voice to show him develop from a young boy to ultimately a family man. Do you think his ability to walking into an instant husband/father was influenced more by his career or values from his parents?
  8. The gardenia bush that had been nurtured in the family home creates a thread in the story. The irony of a gardenia being a locally developed flower and its resilience reflects the parenting of Bobby and Rose for the sisters. Is there a family symbolism that you can relate to like the gardenia’s subtle infusion from the family garden?
  9. In spite of the long-distance relationships between the sisters, do you think the military family lifestyle preserved their ability to pull back together when Bobby’s death creates a permanent absence for the five women?
  10. When the secret adoption is revealed and the adult child reunited with his biological family, is it realistic that both adoptive family and natural family contributions didn’t clash?
  11. Are there any books that you would compare this one to? Why?

Ameera_Cover_FrontReading this selection in your book club, or planning to? Here are some discussion questions about Ameera Unveiled to get you going…

  1. Which character do you like the most and why? The least and why?
  2. Are there situations and/or characters you can identify with, if so, how?
  3. Did you learn something about belly dancing you didn’t know before?
  4. What major emotion did the story evoke in you as a reader?
  5. What themes or threads did you find in the book? Which resonated with you?
  6. What scene resonated most with you personally in either a positive or negative way? Why?
  7. What surprised you the most about the book?
  8. Has an unrealized childhood desire motivated you to fulfill in adulthood?
  9. Do you think the southern setting (Charleston, SC) affected the storyline and cast of characters?
  10. What is motivating the actions of the main character in the story?
  11. What were the dynamics of “power” between the character of Kat and her teacher, Sybil? How did that play a factor in their interactions?
  12. How does the way Kat sees herself differ from how others see her?
  13. How did the “roles” of the various characters influence their interactions? In example: Student vs. teacher, experienced vs. inexperienced dancers, the diverse backgrounds of each of the tribe members.
  14. Were there any moments where you disagreed with the choices of any of the characters? What would you have done differently?
  15. Do you think Kat’s expanded view on spirituality contradicts previous church dogma?
  16. What past influences are shaping the actions of the characters in the story?
  17. How has Kat’s character changed by the end of the book?
  18. Have any of YOUR views or thoughts changed after reading this book?
  19. Are there any books that you would compare this one to? Why?
  20. What do you think will happen next to the main characters? (PS – Tell us and we’ll tell you if you’re right!)

If you’d like the input of the author through a live or Skype visit to your book club, email info@katvarn.com

One thought on “Book Club Qs

  1. Polly and Kat are my fav characters for personal reasons. Everyone has previous baggage that affects there reactions to things in the present. Kat’s character has become somewhat more confident and feeling supported by her troupe mates by the end of the book. The main characters will remain close and dance in to their old age.

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