Sweet Magnolia deals with issues of forgiveness and family communication while keeping matters of the spirit close at heart. Here are some questions meant to provoke discussion and gentle debate about the impact the novel has made on your life.
Questions and Topics for Discussion
1. How do you feel about Misa’s decision to accept her modeling opportunity? Do you think her decision to leave affected her mother’s health? Was her mother being fair by asking her to stay?
2. Do you think the relationship that Alfred and Joy shared was inappropriate? Explain. If yes, at what point do you think they may have crossed the line?
3. What do you like and dislike about the character Hannah? How do you feel about her decision regarding her will? How do you think Summer and Misa could have avoided their big confrontation? Why do you think they had such a hard time communicating with one another?
4. How do you think Summer and Misa could have avoided their big confrontation? Why do you think they had such a hard time communicating with one another?
5. Some readers might perceive Summer as having a martyr mentality. Why does she feel so committed to solving her family issues and protecting the family name?
6. Why do you think it took so long for “the Hens” to find themselves?
7. Why do you think Hannah had such a big influence on her family in terms of money, religion, and career choices?
8. Do you think the mental illness that threatened Elizabeth and her daughters was a generational or a spiritual issue? Or both? What types of things could be done to break such a negative cycle in a family?
9. What are some things that cause siblings who grow up in the same household to take completely different spiritual, personal, or familial paths?
10. How important is preserving and creating family traditions today compared to previous generations?
11. What are some of your past and present family traditions?
12. Why do you think some people are healed through prayer alone and others may need a combination of prayer, counseling, and medication? Why do you think Misa was able to see Phillip Souchon differently as an adult? What are some of the spiritual factors that contributed to her new vision of him?
13. Why do you think Misa was able to see Phillip Souchon differently as an adult? What are some of the spiritual factors that contributed to her new vision of him?
14. What do you think of Phillip’s decision to stop his communication with Misa to get spiritual clarity?
15. What do you think of Quinton and Paige coming together? Why was he able to see her differently after his breakup with Misa?
16. Do you think Summer’s husband, Evan, was being unreasonable about wanting her to come home after Misa got better? Why or why not?
17. Misa entered into a relationship with Van relatively quickly. Why was she able to trust men she didn’t know more easily than her own family members?
18. Could you relate to Summer and Misa’s relationship? Why or why not?