Mango-Shaped Space (Mass)

Discussion Questions
1. Mia lost her grandfather and paints a picture in his honor. Jenna lost her mother and every year on Jenna's birthday she receives a present from her mother that Mia's mother has been holding for her. Have you ever lost anyone close to you? If so, what things do you do to remember them? Do you have any traditions for honoring those you lost? When Mia's cat Mango dies, she falls apart. Have you ever lost a pet?

2. When Mia shows her father the picture she painted of her grandfather, her father says, "They say the eyes are the windows to the soul, you know. I can see Grandpa in those eyes." (p. 28) What does he mean by that?

3. Describe the relationship between Mia and Jenna. As with any friendship there are highs and lows. Site various examples of times when Mia and Jenna are getting along and those when their friendship seems to be in question.

4. Mia doesn't tell anyone about her synesthesia; not even Jenna. When the truth is revealed, Jenna's response surprises mia. "Maybe you don't know what a best friend is." (p. 62) How would you describe Jenna's reaction? Anger? Disappointment? Hurt? Do you think Jenna is just in her feelings? How would you respond to Jenna's statement about the meaning of best friend?

5. When Mia's friendship bracelet gets snagged on the door latch and a thread rips (p. 128), how is that symbolic of their relationship?

6. "I hurry back to the house thinking of all the things we keep from other people. Even our best friends." (p. 32) Discuss this statement with the class Do you think everyone keeps things hidden? How does this statement compare to Mia's statement on page 100: "It's so much easier to talk to poeple over e-mail than it is in person." Do you agree? Why or why not?

7. Mia is apprehensive about engaging in an e-mail exhnge with Adam, questioning his true identty. (p. 103) Do you think Mia is right to be cautious?

8. Mia is part of a unique and loving family. How does each family member deal with Mia's diagnosis? Do you think it has pulled them together as a family?

9. Mia uses her synesthesia to cheat on a math quiz and finally receives an A. "I'm so proud of myself that I forgot to be ashamed." (p. 115) Discuss the dichotomy in this statement.

10. Ever since being made to feel stupid in third grade, Mia finally feels like she has found ehr place with fellow synesthesians. Can she belong and be accepted by both groups?

11. What does Mia mean when she says, "I guess life is all about priorities." (p. 150) Does Mia have her priorities in order? What are her priorities/ Do you think that is why she was so hard on herself when Mango died? Her father said, "We all do the best we can, trying to keep all the balls in the air at once." (p. 197) Discuss this statement. Do you think this helped ease Mia's grief? Woul you agree with her father's assessment of life?
(Questions issued by publisher.)

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