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Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

Silver Sparrow

1. Gwen tells Dana that they have an advantage over Laverne and Chaurisse because they know the truth. Is this true?

2. Is it possible to have a healthy relationship that is not monoga­mous?

3. Should Gwen have married raleigh when she had the chance?

4. There is so much talk these days about fatherhood --- contrasting the deadbeat dad with the Bill Cosby-type father. How do you evaluate James Witherspoon, who is both?

5. Both Dana and Chaurisse have relationships with older boys who don’t necessarily treat them well. What do you think accounts for this?

6. Is Laverne’s life better or worse for having married James? What about Gwen? Does James love Laverne or Gwen?

7. Tayari Jones often writes about the way real people interact with history, for example, Gwen’s feelings about the death of Martin Luther King. How have you interacted with history? How did it affect your personal story?

8. Does Chaurisse have an obligation to be “sisterly” toward Dana once she learns they are related? By that token, does Dana have any obligation to Chaurisse, as a friend or as a sister?

9. Why do you think raleigh is so loyal to James?

10. What is the role of economics in this story?

11. Much of the book is set in Laverne’s salon, the Pink Fox. How does hair figure into this story? Do you think your own hair has impacted your life? For better or for worse?

12. Was Gwen wrong to confront Laverne?

13. Which of the characters was your favorite? Which characters would you like to know more about?

14. Who do you think sent the mysterious postcard at the end of the book?

15. Could this story have had a happy ending?

Silver Sparrow
by Tayari Jones

  • Publication Date: May 24, 2011
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
  • ISBN-10: 1565129903
  • ISBN-13: 9781565129900