Tuesday, August 1, 2017

August 2017- The Girls in the Garden by Lisa Jewell

The girls in the garden 9781476792224 hrDate: August 3rd (to be rescheduled to Aug 10 if there are not enough able to come)

Place: Emily's house. Plan to sit outside (by the fire) in keeping with the setting of the book!

Discussion Questions:
    1. Did you like the book? Why/ Why not?
    2. Who did you first suspect of attacking Grace? Did your suspicions change over the course of the book? Were there clues that pointed you toward the perpetrator? What were some of the red herrings that misdirected your attention?

    3. Adele has a very lenient, alternative parenting style, homeschooling and preferring to let her children make their own choices, whatever they are. She repeatedly suggests that she feels judged by others for her lifestyle. How did you feel about how she is raising her children? Were there points in the book you felt supportive or critical of her maternal choices?

    4. The police suggest that Grace is “mature for her age” (page 206). Do you agree that Grace is (or is acting) more mature than her age? If so, how? How do Grace’s or Pip’s experiences compare with your own experience of being twelve and thirteen?

    5. Do you think Clare made the right decision in keeping Pip and Grace’s father’s release from the hospital a secret? Why or why not?

    6. Adele asserts that “with parenting there’s a long game and a short game. The aim of the short game is to make your children bearable to live with. Easy to transport. Well behaved in public place . . . But the aim of the long game is to produce a good human being” (page 150). Do you agree with her belief that you can “skip” the short game? Is there a middle ground between her viewpoint and Gordon’s discipline-focused approach?

    7. What draws Clare to Leo? Is her attraction to him based more on her own circumstances or something about him?

    8. Why do you think Lisa Jewell wrote primarily from Pip, Clare, and Adele’s perspectives? What do these narrators have in common? What is unique about their different standpoints, and how does this affect the story?

    9. Did you relate to any of the girls or parents more than the others? In what ways?

    10. Do you think you would enjoy living in a home with a communal garden like the one described? What are some of the benefits and drawbacks?

    11. What drives Catkin and Fern to follow Tyler’s lead? What do you think were their motivations for taking the actions they took?

    12. Why does Adele ultimately look after Tyler? Are her motives purely selfless?

    13. Do you think Adele does the right thing by keeping quiet after she discovers what happened to Grace? What would you have done in her position?

    14. All of the girls go through both traumatic and formative experiences during the course of the book. What do you think the various girls will be like when they are grown up?
    15. Read the following excerpt of a review of the book. Do you agree, disagree?
The characters of The Girls in the Garden were overall unlikable, unbelievable, and therefore, unrelatable. Pip is the only exception, and she proves to be a wise, intuitive, caring girl. (...)
While Pip and Grace are the main characters, we’re introduced to a host of secondary characters in this book, all residents of the communal garden, and each with their own social standing. The other children are odd, and their behavior often distressed me. More than that, it seems the parents in this book don't care for their children, and in fact, are scared of their children. Scared of their disdain, of their temper tantrums, of their arrogance and ego. And so, they allow their children to run wild and to run over them in the process. Is this how families are run in the UK? I think not -- but this book would have you believing otherwise!

There are lots of mentions of food in the book! Some ideas, although not all will work too well eaten outside by the fire:

Chicken noodle soup, oaty cookies, crumble- pg 19
Spaghetti and peas, chamomile tea- pg 28
Wholesome muffins with raisins- pg 55
Plums- pg 57
Chicken curry, lentil curry, sag aloo- pg 86
Fudge, pg 94
Lasagna- pg 152
Red velvet cake- pg 167
Chicken, sausage, vegetable kabobs- pg 177
Jacket potato (with cheese and baked beans)- pg 262
Hummus and breadsticks, pasta salad- pg 270

I will supply chocolate (pg 129), tea, coffee, wine (maybe champagne?) and look for cordial, and Pimm's


  1. I will be there... not sure what I am bringing yet.. probably an oaty crumble.

  2. Sorry - I won't be able to make it. Have fun!

    1. We're camping, so I'm definitely out for the 10th.


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