Readers guide for DIAL A FOR AUNTIES Questions for Discussion
1. Meddy feels a lot of guilt and responsibility to keep her mother and aunts happy, so much so that she was willing to forego moving to New York with Nathan. Do you think this was the right choice for her? What would you have done?
2. Which of Meddy’s aunts would you most want in an emergency, and why?
3. Although Meddy’s mother and aunts are constantly sniping at each other, at the end of the day they are willing to drop everything to help Meddy. Can you relate to this, whether it is with your group of friends or with your family?
4. A large part of the immigrant experience is learning a new language. Big Aunt, Second Aunt, and Ma struggled to speak English well, while Fourth Aunt has mastered it and sometimes wields it as a weapon against Ma. Are you familiar with the struggle that immigrants face with adopting a new language and have you witnessed immigrants being made fun of or belittled for not speaking their adopted language fluently? How do you think we as a society can help prevent this from happening?
5. Meddy does not have the best experience with dating, so her mother takes it upon herself to find a date for her. Have you ever been set up by a family member or friend? What has your experience with dating apps been like?
6. Although Meddy broke up with Nathan abruptly when they were in college, he was immediately happy to see her again and didn’t push her too hard for answers. Were you surprised by how readily he accepted her hurried apology, and how willing he was to help Meddy with hiding the truth about the dead body?
7. If you were to accidentally kill your blind date—which, let’s face it, is something that could totally happen to anyone—who would you call to help dispose of the body? Would it be someone in your family? Disclaimer: of course in a real-life situation we all know the first thing to do would be to call the police!
8. As the child of immigrant parents, Meddy often feels out of place. She’s neither fully at home in California nor in Indonesia. Have you ever felt displaced in a similar way? Do you think it’s something that can be overcome?
9. Have you ever felt, like Meddy, burdened by expectations placed on you by your parents or other family members? So much so that you feel unable to speak your truth? Is Meddy a pushover, or is she being selfless?
10. Do you think Maureen is a redeemable character? Would you have been able to forgive her if you were in Jacqueline’s position?