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Walking Book Club... How to be an American Housewife by Margaret Dilloway

  • Feb 2, 2013 · 9:00 AM
  • This location is shown only to members


For February, we are reading "How to be an American Housewife" by Margaret Dilloway.

It is the story of a Japanese War Bride and, half a century later, the perspectives of her American-raised daughter. I like how the book opens with the sentence, "I had always been a disobedient girl." And later in the chapter, "I was disobedient, not foolish." I hope you enjoy it too!

How to be an American Housewife Book Club Questions

* Shoko marries Charlie, a man she does not love, in order to leave a war-torn Japan. Do you feel her life in the United States was the right decision?

* Prejudice and stereotypes are prevalent themes in the novel. The book contrasts society at two points in time, just after WWII and current day. How do the forms of prejudice and stereotype represent our society today? Do current global conflicts result in similar stereotypes?

* A recurrent theme in the novel is how mothers and daughters communicate for better and worse. In what ways did you feel that the difficulties between Shoko and Sue are universal? In what ways are the issues cultural?

* Shoko and Sue represent very different models and standards of motherhood, care taking, and housekeeping. What do you consider their strengths and weaknesses? What would you consider essential qualities?

* The chapters are introduced with snippets from Shoko’s “How to Be an American Housewife” guidebook. How do you view the book’s advice? What advice would you give to someone coming to the US?

* The guidebook advises women to raise their sons differently from their daughters. Do you think boys and girls are raised differently in all cultures, including your own, and what impact does this have on all of us?

* Sue’s life expands as a result of her experiences in the book and she makes life altering decisions. Do you feel she makes better choices than her mother?

* Another theme in the book is understanding and forgiveness. How do Shoku’s efforts result forgiveness with her brother, her son, and Charlie? How realistic is this given the passage of time, cultural beliefs, heredity, and the perspective of age?

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  • A former member
    A former member

    Stimulating conversation, thoughtful comments, let's do it again!

    February 2, 2013

  • Rosy F.

    I had so much fun today! Look forward to seeing you next month!

    February 2, 2013

  • Marlene M.

    Julie led a great discussion today! Lots of interesting thoughts.

    February 2, 2013

  • Lisa N.

    Can't make it. Lacrosse games on Saturday. I'm bummed! See you in march

    February 1, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Wish I was attending! My Mother-in-law was a Japanese war bride. A lot of the portrayals rang true. I have ordered her a copy and can't wait to talk with her about it, wish I could talk with all of you about it and the questions above. Have fun!

    February 1, 2013

  • Georgiann M.

    I'm sorry I won't make it, I enjoyed the book, I'm doubled booked Saturday morning, I can't do both activities after all.

    February 1, 2013

  • Jan N.

    Are we okay at East West for a larger group? Have we changed venues for a specific reason? Just asking.

    January 25, 2013

    • Jan N.

      It is a great location too, and it should be nice to walk the park again.

      January 25, 2013

    • Julie B

      Both locations have advantages and disadvantages... parking, walking, restaurant options, noise, size of groups... Rotating between a couple of good spots seems like a reasonable way to go as long as we don't change locations at the last minute such that people get mixed up and lost.

      January 26, 2013

  • Marlene M.

    I just started reading this book this weekend.... Great so far ... will be a very interesting discussion.

    January 13, 2013

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