Questions and Topics for Discussion
1. To what extent does Florence’s childhood help explain her behavior as an adult, and her relationship with Mariel? What positive and negative attributes did she carry through to her later years? Discuss.
2. After Florence and Gustav spend a memorable night together for their tenth anniversary, Florence goes for a walk to the Lakeside property, where Al lives in one of the cabins. What do you think happens, if anything? Do you believe that Al is Mariel’s biological father?
3. For his entire life, Ned expects to take over Jorby’s, his family’s restaurant chain, but he’s ultimately passed over. Do you think the chain would’ve been successful if he had been put in charge? Why or why not? In what situations do you think he thrives?
4. Saturday Night at the Lakeside Supper Club delves into the complicated topics of male and female infertility and IVF, the trauma we inherit, and the legacies we leave behind. Do you think any character in the novel—Mariel, Florence, Ned, Betty, Julia—should have made a different decision at any point, given their circumstances?
5. Family is at the heart of this novel, and everyone feels the repercussions when disaster strikes. Who do you think is responsible for what happened to Gus, if anyone? Do you feel that Mariel is justified in blaming her mother?
6. If Gus had lived, do you believe he’d have been running a supper club or a restaurant chain, or neither? If Betty Miller had survived another twenty years, does that change your answer?
7. What do you think Mariel gets from her friendship with Brenda that she’s been missing? Do you think she is content in her marriage to Ned? Why or why not?
8. Were you familiar with Midwestern supper clubs before? What about them sounds appealing to you? Is there a traditional-style restaurant that you or your family return to time and again? If so, what draws you back?
9. The Lakeside Supper Club has existed for almost a hundred years by the time Julia sells it. Do you think she makes the right choice for herself and for her family? What else could she have done?