The Lonesome Book Club Part 1

Friday, October 31, 2014

Lonesome Book Club
I haven't been able to find a book club where I live so whenever I discover discussion questions I have decided to answer them myself. It's not nearly as fun, but will have to do for the moment. I'm not going to announcing books in advance at this point, however, if you have read the book discussed please feel free to join in!

Welcome to the One Plus One version of the Lonesome Book Club! All questions were found here on Penguin's Reading Guide.

1) Even though Marty himself is reluctant, Jess opens her home to Nicky, Marty’s son by “a woman he’d dated briefly in his teens” (p. 9), after his birth mother essentially abandons him. If you were Jess, would you be willing to raise Nicky as your own child?

At the time Nicky comes into Jess' life Marty is still around so I'm sure that some part of her felt like taking Nicky in was a no-brainer. By the time Marty abandons them Nicky is truly a part of her family. He is a good kid with no one else and she is a good person so why would she just kick him out at that point? I know finances are hard and kids are expensive, but Nicky is a great kid who deserved to feel wanted and loved. I would be a little sad that I had missed so many milestones, but I would take him in and love him as my own too. 

2) Aileen Trent sells designer clothes at a cut rate to people who could never afford to buy them in the shops. Since Jess strongly suspects that they are stolen, is it wrong for her to buy a few items for Tanzie?

I think suspecting and knowing are two different things. I have "strongly suspected" a lot of things and have been flat-out wrong. If she knows that they are stolen then I think purchasing these items is wrong because her gain is someone else's potentially tremendous loss. I was more under the impression that they are more along the lines of being "knockoffs." I don't really have a huge problem with buying knockoffs. I know some think that the labor is worse than the labor for other companies but I'm not entirely certain that is true.

3) Jess takes the money that Ed drunkenly drops in the taxi and decides to use it to pay Tanzie’s registration fees. Would she have made that choice if he hadn’t behaved rudely to her while she was cleaning his house? Does his treatment of her excuse her decision?

I really don't think she would have taken the money had he behaved in a better manner. It's easier to make that kind of a decision when someone behaves the way that Ed did. I don't think what she did was right, but I can see how she would make that decision. She feels that there is no other way and she truly intends on returning it.

4) Is it more difficult for the poor to lead law-abiding lives? To what extent is morality a matter of character or circumstance?

It very obviously isn't more difficult for the poor to lead law-abiding lives. I think the fallout of 2008 proves that. I think that sometimes the reasoning for breaking the law is very different. I'm more inclined to think that those who are less fortunate may be more likely to break the law because they see no other option, while those who are well-off are more likely to break the law because of sheer greed.

I think morality is ultimately a matter of character because ultimately it is your character that influences and determines your actions in every situation.
5) Ed’s parents couldn’t afford to send both Ed and his sister, Gemma, to public school, so they sent only him. Was it a fair decision? Is Gemma’s resentment justified?

That wasn't a fair decision at all! I completely understand Gemma's resentment. In her eyes it seemed as if her parents only thought Ed could succeed so only he was worth the investment. 
6) Ed helps Nicky get revenge on Jason Fisher by showing him how to hack Jason’s Facebook page. Since Jason intimidated the witnesses to Nicky’s beating into not speaking out against him, is it a justifiable retaliation?

I thought that was a brilliant retaliation! It was subtle, but powerful and set into motion events that ultimately got the Fishers out of their lives for good.

7) At what point in their journey does Ed begin to think less about himself and more about helping Tanzie and her family?

I'm not entirely sure when that shift began. It was such a gradual shift that you knew was coming, but was suprised by it anyway.

8) Does Ed’s ignorance mitigate the seriousness of his crime? Should he have spent time in prison, or do you feel he was given a fair sentence?

He gained next to nothing from his mistake. Although, I think he should have manned up and gotten rid of the gal by breaking up with her. I don't really see the point to the prison time. He lost everything. I'm pretty sure he learned his lesson. 

9) Jess’s mother “had been right about many things” (p. 166), but she never made her daughter feel loved. As a result, Jess makes it her priority as a mother to make Tanzie and Nicky feel loved. What is something that your parents did right? What is something they did wrong that you hope to rectify if you are or plan to become a parent yourself?

My parents did a wonderful job of making sure that we all knew that they supported our decisions and would love and stand by us no matter what. I think that is the best thing you can do as a parent.

My parents were sometimes a little too honest about finances. It's hard enough to grow up. When you are growing up aware that your parents are struggling financially that is stress that a child shouldn't have to deal with. I want my children to learn about money and to know how to handle their finances, but I don't want to burden them with my finances. 

10) Do you support Jess’s decision to go into debt to pay for Norman’s hospital bills rather than put him to sleep?

This is the kind of person that Jess is. She is so strong and is continuously hopeful. I don't know that I would have the strength to do the same, but I admire her decision. I'm really glad that this situation all worked out in the end.

11) Did Ed’s financial success go to his head, or was he self-centered before he was rich? What did he have to learn about himself in order to forgive Jess? 

I think a lot of Ed's problems stem from how he perceived his father. He thought that his father would only be proud of him if he was successful and didn't understand that his father loved him and cared about him, not his success. Because of this he is so focused on pleasing his father that I don't think he ever truly thinks about himself. I think he had to learn that perfection isn't possible. People make mistakes and usually deserve a second, third, fourth chance.

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