Grown-Up Kind of Pretty (Jackson) - Discussion Questions

Discussion Questions
1. One of the opening scenes in A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty depicts Tyler Baines chopping down the Slocumb willow tree. What does this tree symbolize for Big? For Liza? For Mosey?

2. On page 70, Mosey realizes she isn’t who she thought she was. At first, she feels liberated. Then she feels confused and lost. How is she like Liza and Big? What makes her different? Do you think a child takes on traits like compassion, humor, and good sense from her biological parents, or do you think that she learns these from the people who raise her?

3. Several men in this novel cheat on their spouses (Coach, Lawrence), but the women cheat on one another in a different way. What kind of emotional betrayals show up in their friendships, and in their families? Who do you think is the most loyal person in this story?

4. Though Liza and Melissa were inseparable when they were young, Big believes that Noveen was a better friend to Liza than Melissa ever was. Patti turns out to be a wonderful friend to Mosey. What have the Duckins women given to Liza and Mosey? How was Melissa different?

5. One theme in A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty is belonging. On page 224, Big says, “Bogo wasn’t the only stray that Mosey had adopted for us all recently.” Who do you think are the “strays” in this story? When do they find a home?

6. When Mosey enters Liza’s tree house and sees her old Moomin books covered in Magic Marker, she says, “If I had doubted for a second this place was Liza’s, I didn’t doubt it now” (p. 245). Have you ever found a secret place or a secret box that belonged to someone you love? What part of this person did you find there?

7. Was Big smart to keep the details of her family crisis from Lawrence? If she had shared more with him, do you think he could have helped her, or protected Mosey?

8. Did Liza do the right thing by taking Mosey from her mother when she was small? Would you still feel that way if Mosey had been a Duckins or a Richardson instead? Why?

9. Big and Liza are determined to keep Mosey from getting too close to boys. Do you think they’re overreacting? What would you do to keep your daughter from making the same mistakes you made?

10. When something bad happens, Big, Liza, and Mosey often respond with action—though sometimes their approaches aren’t quite ethical. Does Liza break Lawrence’s ex-wife’s plates on purpose, or was it an accident? Did you enjoy it a little, since Sandy cheated on Lawrence and lashed out at Big? Do you think Claire Richardson was at all justified in her attacks on Liza? On Big? Do you blame her less because she lost both her daughters? Though it was wrong of Big to throw bricks at the church’s windows, do you think it was justified, given how she was treated by the church community? How does knowing the pain each character has been through change the way you respond to her actions?
(Questions issued by publisher.)

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