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Life and Other Love Songs Reader’s Guide

By Anissa Gray

Life and Other Love Songs by Anissa Gray


Reader’s Guide
Life and Other Love Songs by Anissa Gray
Discussion Questions:

1.   In tracking the course of Deborah and Oz’s relationship, what are the key turning points, for better or worse?

2.   Even though Deborah objects, Oz refuses to enter a church, even to get married. Why does he shun religion?

3.   Oz commits an unthinkable transgression against Deborah. Can his reasons for depriving her of her dream ever be justified?

4.   Deborah pursues stardom from the time she is a young girl. Though her career does not go as planned, is she still a success in the end?

5.   In Detroit, the 1967 riots send shockwaves through the city and the nation. How does the unrest trigger reminders of a tragic past for Oz
and Tommy?

6.   Family secrets and generational trauma are at the heart of Life and Other Love Songs. How do those issues fray Oz’s relationships with
everyone he loves?

7.   Oz and his family migrate from south to north and from inner city to suburbs. What is the significance of regional and economic mobility for Oz?

8.   What in Trinity’s family life steers her toward becoming an observer of others as well as a reporter?

9.   What is the role of guilt in the lives of the characters, particularly Oz? Does Oz make amends for his transgressions?

10. Oz’s relationship with Willa Mae is among the most significant in the novel. Why does she keep his secret?

11.  Tommy spends years trying to outrun a troubled personal history. Does he truly make peace with his past and himself?

12. Who bears ultimate responsibility for the death of Oz’s father? Did Pearl play a role?

13. What is the significance of the title, Life and Other Love Songs?
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