August 2017- The Girls in the Garden by Lisa Jewell
Date: 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!
1. Did you like the book? Why/ Why not?
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
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
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?
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?
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
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?
What drives Catkin and Fern to follow Tyler’s lead? What do you
think were their motivations for taking the actions they took?
Why does Adele ultimately look after Tyler? Are her motives purely
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?
characters of The
Girls in the Gardenwere
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