This week we’re discussing anything through chapter twenty in Karen Abbott’s American Rose. I hope you’ve been enjoying the book so far. I know I have. It’s fascinating, actually. There are things in here I never could have imagined in my wildest dreams.
Please try not to read ahead, but if you do, please do not post spoilers! Others are trying to read just what has been assigned.
Part of me doesn’t even know what to say about a lot of things that happened in these chapters. My brain exploded more times than I can count. But, I’m adding a few discussion questions to get things going, as per usual.
Feel free to answer some, all, or make up your own…
1. Let’s talk about chapter 12 for a second–first of all, a lot of things in this chapter are just horrific, especially when you think about the fact that they’re being seen through the eyes of a child, but I’m just shocked that the animal list from “If Mama Got Married” was real! Never once, when listening to that song, did I think they actually had all those pets. Thoughts?
2. In the next couple chapters, we really see the decline of Vaudeville and the decline of June’s interest in the act. If you’ve seen Gypsy before, is this what you expected, or did she come off differently than in the musical?
3. Do you think that Rose actually cared about Gordon, or was she distraught when he left, because she knew she couldn’t do what he’d done for the act?
4. And by now we’ve all seen Rose’s first murder and second attempt. Discuss.
5. What do you make of some of the other men in the book: Mike Todd, Billy Minksy, Grandpa Thompson, etc?
6. How does the way that Louise got her start in burlesque compare to the way you saw it in the musical? Or, if you haven’t seen the musical, did it happen the way you imagined it might?
7. Do you have any questions for the author from this section? (We’ll be collecting these for her post-reading Q&A)
For next week, please read through chapter 29, but no further!