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Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

The Spectacular

1. Discuss Marion’s path to Radio City Music Hall. What direction do you think Marion’s life would have taken if she hadn’t shown up to the Rockettes’ audition?

2. What does Marion’s pearl necklace symbolize? When Simon confiscates the pearls, what does his actions reveal about him and the relationship he has with his daughters?

3. In the 1950s, it was unheard of for psychiatrists to be involved in a police case. If you were in the position of the police officers, what would you make of Peter’s character analysis of the suspect?

4. The novel raises questions about the cost of suppressing one’s own creativity and individuality for the good of the greater whole, whether as a dancer in a kick line or as an employee of a large corporation. What are the consequences of doing so for Marion and for her father? How do they differ in their responses to the pressure to conform?

5. How did the novel’s two timelines impact your reading experience? How do the past and future inform each other?

6. “It was as if she’d internalized the idea that people would find her disappointing and abandon her and then made it happen in real life.” (page 184). Do you agree that the events up until this point were a consequence of Marion’s decisions? Why or why not?

7. Later in the novel, Marion learns a disturbing truth about Lucille’s life and choices. Do you believe that Marion should have been told earlier? How could it have affected her relationship with her father?

8. Did your opinion of the bomber shift after his history was revealed? Why or why not?

9. How did your understanding of Simon change throughout the novel? Were there moments when you sympathized with his choices?

10. What did you make of Marion and Peter’s relationship as the novel progressed, and what did you think of Peter’s confession at the end?

The Spectacular
by Fiona Davis

  • Publication Date: June 13, 2023
  • Genres: Fiction, Historical Fiction
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton
  • ISBN-10: 0593184041
  • ISBN-13: 9780593184042