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Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

The Scandalous Summer of Sissy LeBlanc

1. Which summer do you think The Scandalous Summer of Sissy LeBlanc refers to -- the summer she became pregnant, or the summer that Parker returned to Gentry?

2. How do you account for Sissy's attraction to Bourrée? Did their affair shock you?

3. Compare and contrast Sissy's relationship with her mother versus her relationship with her grandmother, Belle. Marilee, Sissy's daughter, has a minor role in the novel as an adult. Through her interactions with Sissy, what -- if anything -- did you construe about their relationship?

4. Is Sissy's Southern Belle's Handbook merely a primer on manipulation, or is it a defensible and legitimate guide for relationships between men and women? Do you believe that game-playing is a part of most relationships?

5. How does The Scandalous Summer of Sissy LeBlanc celebrate the ties that bind women across generations? Discuss the legacy Belle and her daughter left Sissy, and how each woman influenced the outcome of her life.

6. Did you feel sympathy for Peewee? Why or why not? Is it true that Sissy drove Peewee to murder?

7. Belle Cantrell is portrayed as being a liberated woman for her time. Both Sissy and Clara also stood out in Gentry as particularly strong-willed. Was it difficult to reconcile these qualities with their fixation on men and romance? Why or why not?

8. If you had to pick a rule from The Southern Belle's Handbook that you thought was most useful, which one would it be? Why?

9. What makes a southern belle a southern belle?

The Scandalous Summer of Sissy LeBlanc
by Loraine Despres

  • Publication Date: August 6, 2002
  • Paperback: 342 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial
  • ISBN-10: 0060505885
  • ISBN-13: 9780060505882