Discussion Questions for Most Anything You Please
If you're talking about Most Anything You Please in your book club, you may want to use some of these questions to get your discussion started. But don't feel limited by them -- often I find discussions go better when the conversation just flows freely rather than following a set list of questions!
You may also want to check out this page for some interesting background information about my inspiration for the novel.
1. The novel and Holloway’s store both get their start because Ellen takes her father’s advice to open a corner shop. What did you think about Ellen Holloway as a character? What are her strengths and weaknesses?
2. On p. 61, Ellen reflects, “Best for everyone to marry their own kind, she used to think. But … who was to say who your kind was anymore?” In what way does this idea keep recurring throughout the story? How do Ellen’s views, and those of other characters, about “marrying your own kind,” change throughout the story?
3. Why do you think Audrey marries Harry Pickens? Does her marriage have a chance of success?
4. Why do you think Hank Williams and his music mean so much to Audrey?
5. Of the main characters in each generation of the Holloway family – Ellen, Audrey, Henry and Rachel – whose story did you find most interesting? Which of them, if any, did you identify with?
6. How does life in St. John’s change throughout the six decades of this story, and how are these changes reflected in Holloway’s Store? Are these changes similar to changes you have seen in your own community or neighbourhood throughout your lifetime?
7. What do the “Musical Interludes” between each section add to the story? Do you like them? Why or why not? Is there a particular musical interlude that stands out for you?
8. Why do you think Rachel wants to open a business of her own on the site of Holloway’s Store at the end of the novel? Why does Audrey discourage her? How did you feel about Rachel’s decision?
9. Were there details in the novel that connected you to your own memories of neighbourhood stores? What were some of the details that stood out for you?