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The Faraday Girls Reader’s Guide

By Monica McInerney

The Faraday Girls by Monica McInerney


Questions and Topics for Discussion

1. The five Faraday sisters have very distinct personalities. Which did you get to know best through the course of the novel? Whom did you identify most with?

2. Why do you think Sadie has so much trouble fitting in with her family? Is she simply a lost soul, or does her family situation exacerbate her problems? Do you think her drastic action at the end of Part One was at all justified?

3. Early in the narrative, when discussing Leo with her sisters, Miranda states “Sometimes I think he enjoys it, you know. It’s like he’s been cast in a lead role, as the eccentric brave father of five little motherless girls” (page 19). Do you think her assessment of Leo is correct and fair? Does Leo, as Gabriel later states, exert an unhealthy control over his daughters, even with the best intentions?

4. Why do you think Leo idolizes Tessa so greatly? Do you agree with Gabriel that her beauty may have played a large part in his attraction? Have you ever found yourself in love with a person who may not be the best match?

5. Do you believe each of the five Faraday sisters would have turned out differently if their mother had been alive to raise them through adulthood?

6. The traumatizing events Maggie experiences send her into a huge tailspin. Anyone would be traumatized, but why do you think she is so extremely affected by what happened? Do you think her reaction has anything to do with how she was brought up?

7. Family rituals, such as the Faraday Christmases in July, play an important role in this novel. In which ways do these traditions strengthen the Faraday family relations, and in which ways do they strain them?

8. Maggie makes the important decision to keep the family secret she’s discovered to herself. What would you have done under the same circumstances? Do you believe the truth is sometimes better left unknown?

9. Nearly every character in The Faraday Girls romanticizes their past. In each case, how has this process hampered a sense of reality? Does sentimentality ever help any members of the Faraday family?

10. Aside from the way she was raised, how is Maggie’s relationship with her mother unconventional? How is Maggie similar to Clementine, and how is she different? Explore the breakthrough they have in their emotional conversation toward the end of the novel.

11. As an outsider, Gabriel is the only person who can point out and clarify the Faraday family dynamics to Maggie. Have you ever been in the situation of gaining new perspective on your family? How have your own family dynamics changed over the course of your life?

12. How has the Faraday family as a whole changed by the end of the novel? Do you think Leo, the sisters, and Maggie are closer? How do they understand one another better?

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