Book Group Discussion Questions

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  1. Is WWII different than modern wars like The Gulf War, War on Terror and War on Afghanistan? If so how? How are they similar?
  2. Have attitudes changed about what it means to be handicapped and if so, how? Would you consider (old) Charles handicapped? Why or why not?
  3. Have our views as a society changed about sex? If Violet had more information about sex do you think it would have affected her decision to sleep with Charles?
  4. How have modern views on sex impacted teen pregnancy? Is access to more information a blessing or a curse? Would you agree with June’s mother’s advice to “try it before you buy it”?
  5. Would you have wanted to come of age in the 1940s? Why or why not? Is it easier or harder for women today?
  6. Were there other choices Violet had regarding her baby, if so, discuss. What would you have done if you were Violet in 1940?
  7. How does the author write about dancing? Is there a connection between dancing and sex or sensuality? This book is killer diller!
  8. What do you think of James and June’s conversation about strip clubs and selling sex? Should prostitution be legalized?
  9. What did you think of June and her mother’s conversation about ethnicity? Do you agree or disagree?
  10. Do you think Violet is June’s biological grandmother? Why or why not? How important is it to their relationship to their individual characters. Would you like to know? Why do you think the author left it open to the reader’s interpretation?
  11. What did you learn about the 1940s you had not known before?
  12. Did the book inspire you to take up swing dancing, listen to big band music or inspire you to learn to sew? Why or why not?  

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