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2 Burnside Literature- A to Z

Sweeping Up Glass


Sweeping Up Glass Cover

ISBN13: 9780385343039
ISBN10: 0385343035
Condition: Standard
All Product Details

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Reading Group Guide

1. The wolves provide a connection to the mountain, and therefore to Olivias past. What in nature connects you to where you live?

 2. How do you think you would react if you discovered a massive, life-changing secret? 

3. Olivia discovers that her hometown is a hotbed of racist hatred. Have you ever discovered something awful about the place that you grew up? How did you react? 

4. Are the people who kept Olivias secret from her truly her friends? Do you believe they genuinely had her best interests at heart? 

5. The last paragraph of the book finds Olivia contemplating that “in Aurora, theres still division between coloreds and whites. Im equally to blame.” Do you think that Olivia is partly to blame for this division? How or why not? Do you agree with Olivias assessment that “Its not that I pretended- I just didnt see”? 

6. How much do you think Wing knew about the Cottners? If you believe that he knew about the lynchings, do you think that makes him as culpable as those who carried them out? 

7. Was Olivia right to prevent Pauline from taking Willm with her back to California? Was Willm safer going back to the uncertainty of Hollywood with his mother, or staying on the mountain with Olivia? 

8. Sweeping Up Glass examines segregation enforced by society, but also voluntary segregation from society. Can you see parallels to today in how people can segregate themselves either as individuals or as a community? What goals can hope to be achieved through such self-segregation? 

9. Do you believe that there is redemption for Tate? Does keeping the books and leading Olivia to them redeem him for his actions? 

10. For letting Olivia grow up believing what she did, is Tate as much an antagonist to Olivia as Alton Phelps? 

11. Do you think Ida knows what she does? Do you see her as being in control of her actions? Can you see a parallel in your own life of someone who appears to be out of control, but may know exactly what she is doing? 

12. The characters of Willm and Tate are viewed as being universally “good,” whereas the Phelps brothers are viewed as being universally “evil.” Do you think it is that clear-cut in the story? In real life, are people ever one or the other? 

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

RenRabWoman, January 2, 2011 (view all comments by RenRabWoman)
It's been almost a year since I read this book, but I'm still telling people to get it. I convinced our public library to add it to their shelves. It's an excellent "coming-of-age" type story, but the person who is learning about life is the grandmother.
Fiction should enlighten fact. This book does that and has made me think of the fantasies interwoven into the facts of my own life. It's not an easy read for those of us who grew up in the 1960's, but it is worth the effort.
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renaissancerabbitry, November 18, 2009 (view all comments by renaissancerabbitry)
Wow! I read the fantastic claims on the cover, never expected to call them understatements. The critic for The Boston Globe compared this novel to "To Kill A Mockingbird". Well, he is wrong, this book pulls you into the story much better than that.

Maybe it's the fact that this book is a "coming of age" story about a grandmother. Some of us have epiphanies as teens, but some of the larger life changes happen after we think we have already grown up. This book leads to that type of change.

"...I'm equally to blame. ...It's not that I pretended - I just didn't see." What powerful words. What a moving book!
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Liza, August 13, 2009 (view all comments by Liza)
This debut novel is the story of improverished people in rural Appalachia during the 1930's. It is the life story of Olivia Harker--hardworking and poor. She idolizes her father, adores her grandson, loves her friends, is wary of her daughter, protective of the wolves that roam her property and hates her mom. This book is entrenched in southern tradition and it evokes Harper Lee's TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. Enthralling.
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(1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

Wall, Carolyn D.
Carolyn Wall
Carolyn Wall
Mystery & Detective - Women Sleuths
Historical - General
Mothers and daughters
Mystery fiction
General Fiction
Mystery-A to Z
Family saga
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
8.00x5.18x.72 in. .54 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » A to Z

Sweeping Up Glass Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$4.95 In Stock
Product details 336 pages Delta - English 9780385343039 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Wall gives her heroine a powerful voice in this haunting debut."
"Review" by , "This is a perfect little book, like a head-on collision between Flannery O'Connor and Harper Lee, with a bit of Faulkner on a mystery binge. I loved every page of it."
"Review" by , "This debut novel does so much more than traditional, tightly focused mysteries. It has a powerfully, sometimes uncomfortably, realized setting; characters who seem drawn from life; and a wide-ranging plot, bursting with complications...A gripping story and a truly original voice."
"Review" by , "Haunting, lyrical, entirely absorbing, Sweeping Up Glass deserves a place on the shelf next to classics like True Grit and To Kill a Mockingbird."
"Review" by , "Carolyn D. Wall has created an engaging character in Olivia Harker and a complex and densely interconnected community in Aurora, Kentucky. Her evocative prose recalls the regional style of such authors as Flannery O'Connor, Harper Lee, and Eudora Welty."
"Synopsis" by , Someone is hunting wolves behind the grocery where Olivia ekes out a living; soon she and her grandson become prey as well. Olivia must encounter her own uncomfortable past to save herself and the boy, in this stunning debut set in Depression-era Kentucky.
"Synopsis" by , Destined to be a classic, Sweeping Up Glass is a tough and tender novel of love, race, and justice, and a ferocious, unflinching look at the power of family.

Olivia Harker Cross owns a strip of mountain in Pope County, Kentucky, a land where whites and blacks eke out a living in separate, tattered kingdoms and where silver-faced wolves howl in the night. But someone is killing the wolves of Big Foley Mountain-and Olivia is beginning to realize how much of her own bitter history shes never understood: Her mothers madness, building toward a fiery crescendo. Her daughters flight to California, leaving her to raise Willm, her beloved grandson. And most of all, her towns fear, for Olivia has real and dangerous enemies.

Now this proud, lonely woman will face her mother and daughter, her neighbors and the wolf hunters of Big Foley Mountain. And when she does, shell ignite a conflict that will embroil an entire community-and change her own life in the most astonishing of ways.

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