Diann Schindler, Ph.D.
Book Club Discussion Questions for "Just A Girl"
1. What is the significance of the title, “Just A Girl”? Would you have given the book a different title? If yes, what is your title? Why? (Please see questions about the sub-title below in the “General” category.)
2. What were the themes of the book? Do you feel they were adequately explored? Were they brought to life in a cliché or in a unique manner?
3. What did you think of the structure and style of the writing? What is the point of view (POV)? Is the POV adequate?
4. Can you identify the most pivotal scene or chapter for the book? More than one? How do you think the story would have changed had the scene(s) not taken place?
5. What scene resonates most with you personally in either a positive or negative way? Why?
6. Has anything ever happened to you like what happens in the book? How did you react? Did you react differently?
7. What surprises you the most about “Just A Girl”?
8. Are there any notable racial, cultural, traditions, gender, sexuality, or socioeconomic factors at play? If so, what? How do they effect Paula and the other characters? Do you think they were realistically portrayed?
9. How important is the setting and time to the story? How would it have played out differently in another setting? What about a different time?
10. Are there any quotes that stood out to you? Why?
11. Do Paula or any of the characters remind you of yourself or someone you know? How?
12. What are Paula’s motivating factors to her actions? Do they ring true for you? How would you describe Paula’s view of her family and her behaviors toward her father, her mother, and her sister? What do the sub-characters, Paula’s various husbands and lovers want from her? What does Paula want from them? Does Paula get want she wants from the various characters? Explain.
13. What are the dynamics of "power" between the characters…between Paula and her sister, Rachel…and their mother…their mother and their father…Paula and her husbands?
Paula and her lovers? How does power play a factor in their interactions and relationships?
14. The point of view doesn’t allow the reader to know, for sure, what is in the minds of the other characters. Beyond dialog, do you learn about the characters’ personalities? If yes, what are the elements used in “Just A Girl” that are used for character development? Some elements for consideration might be a choice of clothing, lack of speaking/dialog, physical description, and even the sex scenes. Do you think the characters are developed adequately or do you want more? Why?
15. If you could smack any of the characters (including Paula) upside the head, who would it be and why? Do you see a pattern in Paula’s choice of men? Explain.
17. Are there any moments where you disagree with the choices of any of the characters? What would you do differently if you were one of the characters?
18. Do you think Paula changes, at all? If yes, when, and how? Are aspects of her character/personality dynamic? If yes, what are they? Are aspects of her character/personality static/unchanging? If yes, what are they?
19. Do you think the ending is appropriate? Are you surprised? Disappointed? Do you prefer a different ending? If yes, explain.
20. Have any of YOUR views or thoughts changed after reading “Just A Girl”?
21. What do you think will happen next to Paula? What would you like to happen to Paula in the future?
22. The sub-title for “Just A Girl” is: “A coming-of-age novel about innocence, isolation, love, heartbreak, and discernment.” Do you see each of those elements in the plot line? What about “discernment”? Do you think Paula reached a level of discernment? If yes, what are her insights and how do you know?
23. Are there any books that you would compare this one to? How does “Just A Girl” hold up to them?
24. What did you learn from, take away from, or get out of “Just A Girl”?
25. What is the orange about?
26. Did your opinion of the book change as you read it? How?
27. Would you recommend “Just A Girl” to a friend?
28. Would you like to see a sequel? If yes, why, and what characters would you like to see in a sequel? (If you want a sequel, please write to Diann at Diann@DiannAbroad.com and let her know. She has been encouraged to continue Paula’s story and would be happy to know your thoughts.)
*Is your book club interested in reading and discussing “Just A Girl”? Diann would be pleased to set up a conference call to join in the discussion and/or answer any questions. Please let her know at Diann@DiannAbroad.com.