Notes from a Reading Journal: “The Giver of Stars,” by Jojo Moyes.

“We women face many unexpected challenges when we choose to step outside what are considered our habitual boundaries.” — P. 386

Book of the Month’s November selections were amazing! “The Giver of Stars” is a beautifully written story involving love and friendship (and even a murder trial) between the female librarians of the WPA’s Eastern Kentucky Packhorse Librarian program. It also will serve as a reminder that no matter what, women living in modern times are experiencing the best time in history to be women.

This is a perfect selection for your ladies’ book club. There are so many themes to discuss! Probably the biggest issue that will stick in your mind is just how hard life was for everyone in that region of the country during the Depression. From the miners and families being exploited by Van Cleve and the company, to the women getting abused and oppressed by their husbands and fathers, it was a real eye-opener.

It has been awhile, but I am vaguely reminded of Fannie Flagg’s “Fried Green Tomatoes.”

Suggestions for discusssions:

  • Discuss what Verna McCullough did for Margery O’Hare. Do you agree with what Verna did?
  • Discuss the marriage and father-in-law dynamics between Alice and Bennett, and the elder Mr. Van Cleve. What did you think about how Alice’s family over in England treated her?
  • Can you imagine how tough you had to be to actually physically do the packhorse librarian job? Discuss the physical requirements, along with the mental toughness it must have taken to be so bold during that period of time.
  • Discuss the importance of friendships and community. Do you see society still banding together so strongly like the female leads in this book, or do you see us all on separate islands, essentially disbanding as a society?