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Stop That Girl: Fictionby Elizabeth Mckenzie
Reading Group Guide
1. How does the setting of California shape Stop That Girl? How might the novel be different if it were set in another region?
2. Discuss the social backdrop to these stories. How does the culture of the sixties and seventies help shape Anns identity?
3. In the first chapter, Ann takes off running with her baby sister. What provokes her to do this? Do you understand her motives in this instant?
4. Explore Dr. Frosts effect on Ann and her family. How does Anns mothers relationship with Dr. Frost compare to Anns relationship with her grandmother? What do you think Dr. Frosts motives are in regards to her relationship to Ann? Is she merely eccentric, or do you think she has deeper psychological problems? Does Ann or her mother resemble Dr. Frost in any way?
5. Stop That Girl has the unusual format of consistently skipping time between chapters. How did this structure function as a way to explore the turning points in Anns life, and how did it affect your reading experience?
6. In “Life on Comet,” how does Ann view her mothers depression? How does Anns perception of her mother change in “We Know Where We Are, But Not Why” when her family is in Arizona?
7. Many reviewers have called Ann Ransom a surprising and original character. How does she differ from other female characters youve encountered in contemporary fiction?
8. At the end of “Look Out, Kids,” Ann says, “It all could have been so much different.” What does Ann wish were different? In the broadest sense, why wasnt it?
9. What messages about family does Stop That Girl send? How does McKenzie define the variables of family?
10. How does McKenzie use humor to express Anns worldview?
11. In “S.O.S.,” Ann describes her attraction to her boyfriend, Bart, as originating when she realized “He didnt like anybody, felt superior, and coming from where I did I was used to this kind of person. One thing led to another” (154). What does she mean with this statement?
12. Roy is one of the few loyal men in Stop That Girl. Why is he so dedicated to Anns mother and his family? How would you characterize the other male characters that appear throughout the narrative?
13. Ann finds herself in an uncomfortable situation with her employer in “The Possible World.” Beyond the immediate circumstances, what do you think brought her to this low point?
14. How and where does the theme of being “last of the tribe” surface in this narrative?
15. Throughout the novel, Ann and her family constantly move. Why cant Anns mother settle in one place? What effect does this upheaval have on the rest of the family?
16. How would you compare Anns personality at the end of the novel to her character at age seven? Which elements of her personality have changed, and which have essentially remained the same?
17. What are your predictions for Anns future? How do you think shell live her life?
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