Looking forward to seeing you this Fri at Cameron Village at 10am for our discussion about Family Tree by Barbara Delinsky. We'll be upstairs in the meeting room (202-A) by the windows and biography section. And we'll have refreshments, of course!
1. What were your initial theories about Lizzie?s ancestors? Did you ever doubt Dana?s fidelity?
2. How would you have reacted if you had experienced Dana and Hugh?s situation? How would your circle of friends and coworkers have reacted?
3. Discuss the parallel stories woven throughout the novel, including Dana?s painful reunion with her father, Ellie Jo?s secret regarding her husband?s other marriage, and Crystal?s paternity case against the senator. What are the common threads within these family secrets? What ultimately brings healing to some of the parties involved?
4. Crystal?s dilemma raises timely questions about the obligations of men who father children out of wedlock. Are Senator Hutchinson?s obligations to Jay the same as Jack Kettyle?s obligations to Dana? Should men always be financially obligated to their children, regardless of the circumstances? If so, what should those financial obligations be?
5. Why is it so difficult for Dana to feel anything but anger toward her father? In your opinion, did he do anything wrong? How does she cope with the shifting image of her mother?
6. What is the root of Hugh?s reaction in the novel?s initial chapters? Is he a racist? Is he torn between loyalties? Does he trust his wife?
7. Discuss the many differences between Dana?s and Hugh?s families. What drew Dana and Hugh to each other? To what extent is financial power a factor in shaping their attitudes toward the world? What common ground existed despite their tremendous differences in background?
8. What accounts for the universal fascination with genealogy? Should a person be lauded for the accomplishments of an ancestor, or snubbed for the misdeeds of one? Is genealogy a predictor?
9. In chapter 23, Eaton voices his frustration by shouting questions at the portraits of his parents. How might they have responded to his questions had they lived to see the arrival of Lizzie?
10. What should Dana and Hugh learn from the experience of Ali?s parents? What would the ideal school for Lizzie be like? What does Ali?s story indicate about integration?
11. Discuss Eaton?s ?reunion? with Saundra Belisle. Were their youths marked by any similarities, despite the fact that they lived in distinctly different worlds?
12. What role does location play in Family Tree? Would the story have unfolded differently within the aristocracy of the South, or in a West Coast city?
13. What does Corinne?s story reveal about the false selves we sometimes construct? Who are the most authentic people you know? Who in your life would stand by you after a revelation like Corinne?s?
14. Does Eaton?s history demonstrate the ways in which racism has waned in recent generations, or the ways in which very little has changed?
Thanks to the News & Observer posting the Wonderland Book Club in their “Triangle Reads” section, our Meetup group’s numbers have swelled from a hundred members to over 150. I can easily see why. Since its inception, Wonderland has been about getting members to read books they wouldn’t normally read. And more recently, Wonderland features the actual authors of the books we’re reading each month. We’re a very warm, accepting group—you don’t need to be a member of the North Carolina Writers’ Network to join (although that would be nice!), nor do you need to be working on your next novel. But I think the number one reason we’re growing is because we’re easy to join and easy to find on the internet. Through a web connection and a physical event, Meetup brings folks together who share a common interest. In fact, if I hadn’t made Wonderland a Meetup group six years ago, we’d be dead by now. Most book clubs that aren’t library or bookstore-related form from friendships, neighborhoods or clubs—there’s no county-wide book club directory and you need to be “in the know” to be invited. That’s what’s so neat about Wonderland Book Club: newcomers to the Triangle love it, it’s free and there’s no special code or association to join the fun!
So what do our guest authors discuss for two hours from 10 a.m. to noon? Usually the first hour is taken up with the book discussion, the author reads a few passages and then in the last hour the floor is opened for the story behind the book. How was this book published and marketed? How long did the author take to write the book? Did the plot or characters come first? And the questions continue when we take the author to lunch.
Want to join? It’s easy! Sign up as a free member at http://meetup.com/wonderlandbookclub so you know the details of our next meeting. We typically meet the last Friday of every month from 10 am to noon at the Center for Excellence, 3803‐B Computer Dr. Ste. 106 Raleigh, NC 27609. And if you don’t sign up beforehand, we want you to come anyway. I promise you our veteran members don’t bite and we love seeing new folks.
Published authors! Interested in being our guest in 2015? Email Alice at email@example.com. Spaces are filling fast.
The Wonderland Book Club is sponsored by the North Carolina Writers' Network (NCWN) www.ncwriters.org
Wonderland Book Club 2015 Schedule
All Meetings are held at the Center for Excellence Fridays from 10am-noon (all last Friday, except in Nov & Dec)
Jan 30 Kim Church, Byrd
Feb 27 Padgett Gerler, Lessons I Learned from Nick Nack