Reading Group Guide
1. One of the characters, Sister, makes up a list of questions for discussing movies at the Sewing Circus's film festival. She begins with: "Do I believe this character exists in the real world? Do I like her?" Apply this question to the novel's protagonist, Joyce.
2. What does Joyce's "red dress" symbolize?
3. Joyce feels that movies can provide life lessons for the girls in the Sewing Circus: "My hope is that if they can recognize preventable foolishness on the screen, the lessons they learn will carry over into their real lives." (p. 77). Do you agree with Joyce? What are other benefits, or dangers, of exposing young people to art, whether it's literature, painting, or the performing arts?
4. "That the problem with black women" says Bill. He adds, "The essence of true love is surrender. All the great poets agree on that. And if there is one thing a black woman will not do, it's surrender! No wonder nobody can stay together for longer than twenty minutes at a time." (p. 239). Do you agree this is the problem with black women in relationships?
5. Love relationships are a major theme in this novel. Can you identify three "prototypes" or different kinds of heterosexual intimate relationships depicted through the book? Are any exclusive to the African-American community?
6. Black men are working to "get their act together" in this book. Bill's workshop comes up with a list of "For Men Only" goals. If you could add your "two cents," what list would you create for them?
I Wish I Had a Red Dress
- Publication Date: July 1, 2002
- Genres: Fiction
- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: Harper Paperbacks
- ISBN-10: 0380804883
- ISBN-13: 9780380804887