Discussion Questions

Discussion Questions to supplement those provided in the back of the book:

(Warning:  spoiler alert.  Some questions may reveal the story’s plot)

  1. Somebody once said, “everyone seems normal until you get to know them”.  Do you agree or disagree?  Would the characters of My Jane Austen Summer seem “normal” if you met them on the street?  Choose a character and list their normal vs. unconventional qualities.  Apply this concept to people you know.
  2. Lily declares that she just wants to be “normal”.  What is she really saying? Is Omar really normal?  Imagine what you would learn about Omar if you shared a room at Literature Live.
  3. Several marriages are portrayed in the story:  Lily’s parents, Vera and Nigel, Archie and Sheila.  What makes a healthy marriage and how do these three measure up in your opinion.
  4. Is failure a bad thing?  Lily’s father, sister, and friend all suggest she get professional help.  Do you agree?  How might they have responded differently?
  5. Lily initally measures her self-worth by her relationships with the men in her life.  How does this change?  What skills, talents, assets does she have that she doesn’t recognize?  Who helps her see another dimension of herself?
  6. Lily says, “if I hadn’t failed, I’d still be failing.”  What does she mean?  How does Lily respond to personal setbacks?  Does she change the way she responds over the course of the story?
  7. Lily says, “plunging into disaster felt so much better than lame suffering.” (page 228)  Does this correspond to her later question to herself, “Do you crave love or pain and are they the same thing to you?”  (page 296)  Discuss the implication of these quotes.
  8. Lily and Bets are both dealing with dysfunctional families, but their coping mechanisms are very different.  Compare and contrast.
  9. Why is Lily drawn to Vera?  Jane Austen?  What do they have in common with Lily’s mother?
  10. Fanny Price has been called an insipid mouse, yet she resists her intimidating uncle’s pressure to marry Henry Crawford.  Discuss what it means for a character to be strong.  Do you apply the same standards for men and women?  Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of these chracters:  Lily, Magda, Willis, and Vera.