Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Summerhouse - discussion questions

1. Describe each of the three main characters—Ellie, Leslie and Madison. Of the three, is there one one whose story you most most relate to or sympathsize with...or find most compelling?

2. Do you consider these women true victims at the hands of men-gone-bad? Or do you see them as passive individuals, who find it easier to blame their unhappiness on others (a very common human failing)?

3. Ellie thinks castration is too light a punishment for Madison's high school boyfriend, who dumped Madison for his college sweetheart. But later, Ellie approves—smiles and all—Leslie's choice to dump her boyfriend and move to New York. "You wanted to see life," she says to Leslie. Care to comment on Ellie? Is she inconsistent, or is there a deeper morality she's aiming for?

4. If given the chance, which three weeks out of your own life would you choose to return to and relive? Are three weeks enough?

5. Having chosen the period of your life to return to, would you make permanent changes—and what would those changes be? In other words, would you accept Madame Zoya's offer for a do-over?

6. Are there better ways to affect the course of one's life than through time-travel? Could these women—should they—move on without having to alter their personal histories?

8. Each of the women thought they could fix the mistakes they made in their previous lives. What lessons, however, did they learn during their time-travel?

9. It has been said that women writing about women shortchange men—in other words, they don't create fully human male characters, only one dimensional caricatures. Does Deveraux fall into that trap, or do you feel her male characters are well-developed? (Or is that observation sexist to begin with?!)

10. Are you satisfied with the book's ending?

(Questions by LitLovers.)

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