Friday, May 13, 2011

The Blue Orchard - Discussion # 2

Welcome back to our second discussion on The Blue Orchard by Jackson Taylor.  Any and all are welcome to participate.  This discussion covers from pg. 96 through pg. 192.

When we left off, Verna had just been booted back home but didn't stay there for long.  I am amazed at the amount of jobs she had.  It really seems like it was quite easy to get a job back then, even though it did get harder with the Depression.  I really enjoyed following along on her journey to become a nurse but found that sometimes I couldn't remember a name or place who someone was, when they were just referred to with their first name, and other times I got confused because they referred to someone (like Norm) by their full name and I didn't understand the need.  Oh, well.

"I stare away from him with blank eyes and a sudden dislike because I know that he cannot stop me no matter what ridicule passes his lips." pg. 120

Speaking of Norm, I was getting sooo frustrated with her relationship with him.  She knew he was awful and that she wasn't going to marry him, so WHY DID SHE TAKE FOREVER TO break up with him? Though, she was still young and naive and still had a lot of growing up to do.  The Verna by the end of this section would not have put up with him for long at all.  Yet, she puts up with Dewey who doesn't do anything for his children and appears to be an alcoholic.

It's also a little alarming, knowing what is coming that their business, even though illegal is apparently known to EVERYONE.  Yet, somehow it all remains kosher until it isn't anymore.  And that very angry patient Verna had at the end of this section makes me wonder, how many others wouldn't have turned on them in a New York Minute to save themselves from some kind of trouble.  Yet, Dr. Crampton (he he Cramp) does have friends in high places.

Questions from the Reading Guide (Simon & Schuster's site) and from myself..

1. "There is no substitute for character and you never know where you'll find it.  I weep at how many deaths we all endure before our own takes us." pg. 109 What does this quote mean to you?

2. Do you think Sam has an idea of what his mom's job is? If so, how do you think he feels about it, especially now that he is living with her?

3. Compare Verna's opinion of Dr. Crampton before she meets him to her view of him during their first encounter. How does their relationship change over the years, both on a professional and a personal level?

4. Verna admits to Dewey, "I don't think the world of men. They've always made me suffer" (page 158). Discuss Verna's encounters and relationships with the various men in her life—Mr. Wertz, Murphy, Charles Dennis, Norm, and Dewey. Why does she continue to see Charles Dennis throughout the years despite his deception?

5. What motivates Verna to succeed? Why is she able to rise above her circumstances in a way that her mother was never able to do? How much is Verna impacted by her mother's attitude toward Buckley versus her daughters?

Thanks for participating! I can't wait to hear what you all have to say in the comments! Next week, the discussion will be led by Kelly from She Wears a Red Sox Cap . Our discussion will cover pgs. 193- pg. 290.  Can't wait!

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