Friday, November 29, 2013

Discussion - Liberating Paris

Hola! November's group read was Liberating Paris by Linda Bloodworth Thomason.  Confession:  When I picked it up at the library's book sale I didn't even read the description and even when I suggested we read it this month still did not read the description.  Imagine my surprise when it was the number that spewed back to me and I read the description finally that it was set in Paris, Arkansas.  Whoops. ;)

1. Would you describe Wood's declining interest in his wife, and his renewed interest in a "soul-mate," a mid-life crisis, despite his protestations to the contrary?

I kind of think it was.  Not to use it as an excuse but his life had a LOT of change and then he was contemplating his own mortality after his father's death and he just wasn't in a good spot.

2. Is Duff's free-spirited form of femininity ultimately weaker and more calculating than Milan's?Do you think either Milan or Duff represent true feminism

I'll be honest.  I completely went with what the author wanted and liked Duff more than Milan until after the affair began again and the older Duff started to show her true colors.  I think both women had flaws and both were pretty calculating but the author definitely wrote Milan to have more depth.  And I don't really know if they represent true feminism.  I don't think standing by your man is all that awesome.  Admirable but I just don't think I could do that.  Nor do I think having an affair with someone you know is married is showing much feminism either. 

3. In the context of slavery, and the schism between North and South, how is it significant that "New Yorkers love southerners who write about their mammies. Hell, they would even throw a party for you"? What uncomfortable social undercurrents does this address?

4. How does the novel depict the small acts of great courage that can change societies for the better?

5. Why do you think Wood assumed that Milan became pregnant on purpose? How does this assumption speak to his class-consciousness? Why do you think the author waited to reveal the truth?

For one, it is a totally different book/life for Wood if he knew what he finds out from the beginning.  He even admits that.  Not to say that he may have still done stupid crap.  But he would have treated his wife differently, looked at her differently and thought of her differently for sure. 

5. How does the novel portray the decline in values such as respecting the elderly and appreciating craftsmanship?

6. Do you agree with the depiction of large, big-box chain stores in Liberating Paris? How is the Fed-Mart an anathema to everything Main Street stands for? What do you think the novel's last line – "there is nowhere left to put the town but inside children like these" – means?

I thought the last line was a bit too cheesy.  I went from really like the book and connecting to characters to thinking -- YOU ARE TRYING TO HARD TO MAKE YOUR POINT.

7. Of all the couples that are formed, whom do you find most touching? Why?

8. Were you surprised that Jeter was in love with Milan?

9. Would you be friends with this group? Who would you be closer with?

10. What was your favorite part?

Thanks for participating!! Have a great weekend.

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