The Year Mrs. Cooper Got Out More
1. What good things happened when Mallory Cooper got out more? What bad things happened? What things did Mallory have control over, and what things would have happened anyway?
2. What were other characters afraid of? Were the fears real?
3. How did different characters show courage?
4. A thematic thread throughout the book is the power of truth and lies in people’s lives. Which do you think, truth or lies, won out in this book? Which truths hurt, and which lies helped?
5. Many of the characters were looking for love. Some, like Jim Beall, didn’t know they were and felt off-balance when they found it. Dwight knew he was and had to decide where to find or re-create it. How did different characters look for and react to love?
6. Another theme could be the strength we gain from friends and loved ones if we let them help us grow. How did Dwight help Mallory and Richie? How did Mallory help Doris? What other relationships helped people to improve themselves?
7. Mallory hated gossip but sometimes participated in it despite herself. Does that happen to you?
8. Which character did you like/dislike the most? Why?
9. Have you ever been to the area of Maine that Great Wharf is set in, and did the author’s descriptions feel true to you? How might the story have differed in a different setting?
10. What scenes in particular have stayed in your mind since you finished reading?
11. Mallory was able to put her upset with her mother and history with her Uncle Bill on a back burner while raising her children and then holding down a job. When she had time on her hands, however, after the kids had left home and her job disappeared, she couldn’t ignore the pain inside anymore. Have you had old memories or experiences surprise you like that?
Credit for thematic photo at left (c) Eponaleah | Dreamstime.com