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Powell's Q&A | September 3, 2014

Emily St. John Mandel: IMG Powell’s Q&A: Emily St. John Mandel

Describe your latest book. My new novel is called Station Eleven. It's about a traveling Shakespearean theatre company in a post-apocalyptic North... Continue »
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    Station Eleven

    Emily St. John Mandel 9780385353304

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1 Remote Warehouse Literature- A to Z

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Neecey's Lullaby


Neecey's Lullaby Cover



Reading Group Guide

1. Jesse disappears from the novel by chapter 4 and does not reappear until chapter 16. Whats the motivation for focusing on him in the first three chapters?

2. Neeceys Lullaby is set in the mid-1950s through early 1970s. Think about why the author might have chosen this time period instead of a more contemporary setting.

3. Della is aware of the beatings administered by Ruby. Why doesnt she interfere?

4. Miss Cole is concerned about Rubys treatment of Neecey. Why doesnt she contact the authorities? What resources do todays teachers have to help abused children? What resources do family, neighbors, and children have? What legal steps would be taken against a mother like Ruby today?

5. Throughout the novel, Ruby is in one bad relationship after another. How does this impact her relationship with the children? Which relationship or relationships are the children most comfortable with? Which relationship had the worse impact on the children? Why?

6. Knowing that Ruby chose the name Darcy Bane to reflect a poisonous relationship, why do you think she chose the names Serenda Joy and Jordan?

7. Although Ruby is abusive, Neecey often stands up to her. When and why?

8. After his accident, why does Manny think Ruby is the wrong person to care for him? Why is he upset that Neecey is moving?

9. In the final confrontation with Ruby, Jordan claims that Neecey has always been their mother. Why?

10. How would the novel change if it was told from Rubys point of view? Odessas point of view? Jacks point of view?

Product Details

Burks, Cris
Harlem Moon
Abused children
Domestic fiction
General Fiction
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
8.20x5.60x.64 in. .46 lbs.

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Neecey's Lullaby New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$12.75 In Stock
Product details 224 pages Harlem Moon - English 9780767919838 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Burks's unflinching, precisely observed story of a girl's will to survive her hopeless surroundings — a Chicago home ravaged by poverty, abuse and neglect — follows Neecey from her childhood in the mid 1950s to her early 20s, in 1973. Burks recounts a bleak coming-of-age for Neecey, beginning with the dissolution of her parents' marriage. The sudden appearance of a man claiming to be her real father sets in motion the philandering of her de facto father, Jesse, and the jealous rages of her mother, Ruby. In a broken home ruled by Ruby's fists and extension cord lashings, self-sacrificing Neecey assumes an adult role as surrogate mother to her younger siblings, whose numbers grow from three to five as Ruby barters her body for male comfort. Giving predatory lovers free range over her home while leaving Neecey to cook and care for the children, Ruby displays a destructive self-absorption unmitigated by any sense of responsibility to her family. While Burks (SilkyDreamGirl) skillfully charts Neecey's struggles in a bleak urban landscape, she demonizes Ruby, placing a two-dimensional character at the core of an otherwise moving second novel." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , Set in 1950s Chicago, this story of a girl tempered in a crucible of abuse and neglect is a superbly crafted narrative in the spirit of the bestselling novels "Push" and "Bastard Out of Carolina."
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