Reading Group Guide
1. According to one theory, our identity is shaped by our genes, immutable and unchanging. Others argue that our character is informed by our experiences, upbringing, and surroundings. Discuss the idea of "nature versus nurture" as it applies to Nonny and her two families in Between, Georgia. Which do you think played a bigger role in the formation of your own character and identity?
2. How is the setting of Jackson's book critical to the story? Could these characters exist in any small town, or are they necessarily products of Between, Georgia?
3. In the book the Fretts are portrayed as upstanding churchgoing citizens and the Crabtrees as a rulebreaking bunch of scofflaws. Upon close inspection, how do their actions in these pages support or refute their reputations? What is your true definition of abusing authority and how does it compare to that of each family?
4. Nonny is drawn to Henry and Jonno for different reasons. What does each man seem to represent to her?
5. Stacia, as a deaf blind character, calls into question the process of "knowing" others. How does Stacia replace seeing and hearing as avenues to "knowing" the people she loves and detests?
6. What does Jackson mean when she says on p. 181 that Mama had "quietly found her own way to make the world tell lies, and SAY that it was safe"? Do you believe she was justified in her surreptitious actions here? Which other characters engage in deception in the pages you have read? Do their ends justify their means?
7. The idea of ownership is a central theme in the book. How do each of the main characters go about staking claims on other people, things, and even Between itself? To what extent can one "own" another person? Why is it so important for the people of Between to feel they own something? How can the feeling of ownership toward another person be detrimental? How can it be positive?
8. Nonny engages in relations with Henry while technically still married to Jonno, and Bernese, while critical of these acts, is shown to have engaged in extracurricular activities as well. What is each character's view towards marriage? Were you sympathetic to their perspectives throughout the book? Did you change your opinion by the end?
9. Motherhood is a key theme in Between, Georgia. What role do non-traditional mothers play in the story? How do the non-traditional mother-daughter relationships in the book compare to the traditional ones?
10. Years of feuding between the Frett and Crabtree families is brought to fruition through a series of violent events starting with the dog attack. Why do you think the author chooses violence to initiate healing?
11. The characters in Between, Georgia seem to express care and concern for each other by administering tough love. What are some examples of tough love in the book? Is this approach an effective one?
12. Discuss the ways in which Nonny and the residents of Between, Georgia are stuck in certain patterns of behavior. Why do they seem unable to make progress in some aspects of their lives? Is this inertia a function of who they are, or of their surroundings and circumstances?
13. In the future, what would you expect to happen to the families? Would they still be in Between? What would be the status of Henry and Nonny's relationship? Is the feud truly over?
Between, Georgia: A Novel
- Publication Date: May 2, 2007
- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
- ISBN-10: 0446699454
- ISBN-13: 9780446699457