For Book Clubs

Discussion Questions  

1.     Call Your Daughter Home is an historical novel but in what ways is it relevant to contemporary society? Are women treated differently now than they were then? If not, why? If so, how?

2.     How does the patriarchal power in this story affect both the men and women who inhabit Branchville, South Carolina?  

3.     How is class explored within the story? What are the commonalities and differences between Annie, Retta, and Gertrude?

4.     What blinded Annie to Edwin’s actions? Why do you think she has struggled with her ability to mother? Were you surprised by her actions in the end? Do you have empathy for her?

5.     Gertrude compares herself to a wild animal. Why?

6.     Retta has the gift of sight. Does Retta sense Odell’s peril while he is absent from her? If so, can you detect when and how?

7.     Why does Retta choose to help Gertrude?

8.     Gertrude, Retta and Annie have different ideas on faith. How does that affect the quality of their lives?

9.     Are Gertrude’s actions throughout the book warranted? With Alvin? Lily? Edwin? How have her circumstances hardened her? How have they enlightened her?

10.  How is the environment and landscape used to impact the story?

11.  Invention (the telephone, the automobile, etc.) is talked about in the book as an aha moment of life. What other aha moments happen for each of the main characters?

12.  Which of the three principal female characters resonates most with you and why?

13.  Do you detect a generational echo in the book from mother to child? If so, how do these echoes affect Gertrude, Annie and Retta? What did they gain from their mothers?  What were their mother’s failings? Do Retta, Annie and Gertrude pass those strengths and failings on to their offspring? Have you ever considered what has been passed on to you from your mother and grandmothers?

14.  What do we owe our children? And what, if anything do they owe us in return?