Friday, April 27, 2012

Discussion 2 - Winter Garden

This book was so heavy.  Definitely not a light read for the beach, which is where I read it.  Kristin Hannah has such a way with words and I feel like I am repeating myself from the last time, but it's truth.

I felt so much during this book.  Heartache, anger, frustration... Real feelings for real characters.

I cannot fathom how people survived the Nazis.  I suppose you just did it.  But how broken they must have been.  So strong, tough and silent.

As a mother, I would have wanted death, much like Anya tried to accomplish.  What pure torture to go on and have more children. 

1. Anya Whitson is color blind and cannot see the colors in her winter garden. Why do you think the author gave the character this particular trait? In what ways is it a metaphor for what Anya has gone through in her life? Do you believe it is a physiological blindness or a psychological one?
2. Memory is an important theme in Winter Garden. Meredith often regrets--when looking at old family photos taken without her--that she was often off organizing or obsessing over details, while everyone else was living in the moment, creating memories. How common is this for women and mothers? What memories keep your family together?
3. Jeff tells Meredith that “words matter.” What are some examples of this throughout the story? How have words saved and harmed each of these characters’ lives? How has silence saved and harmed each of these characters’ lives? How do words—the telling of the fairy tale—change their individual and collective perceptions of who they are?
4. Anya is an unsympathetic character throughout much of the book. How did your perception of her change as the fairy tale unfolded? Did you end up sympathizing with her, or even liking her? Or do you feel that her treatment of her daughters was inexcusable, regardless of the hardships she had faced in her life? How do you think you would have fared in Leningrad under the siege? Was Anya heroic in Leningrad, or a failure?
5. How did you feel about the ending? Why do you think the author chose the surprising meeting in Sitka?
Thanks for participating!!

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