Reading Group Guide
1. Discuss the novel's structure. Does having Violet add commentary in the present change your perspective on the events that took place? Does the foreshadowing–for example, in the Prologue she reveals that she has a daughter–enhance the narrative or detract from it?
2. It "consoled" Violet "to think of her suicide, to think that there was going to be an ending to this life that sadistically had teased her with a taste of something wonderful, only to snatch it away, leaving her with her usual helping of pain and disappointment." At what point does Violet stop entertaining thoughts of suicide? Why?
3. When Violet leaves the Hedstrom's house the morning after the bus crash, why does Kjel go searching for her and bring her back to his house? Does he want to "save" her? Why does Violet decide to go with him?
4. Leona is displeased when Kjel brings Violet back with him that morning, and yet as the years pass she and Violet become like mother and daughter. Why do the two women forge such a close relationship?
5. Violet's mother left when she was a child, abandoning her to the cruelty of her father. How does Violet's upbringing impact her? Does she ever get over her mother having left her? How would you describe Violet as a mother?
6. After the fight at the gas station, Violet feels as if she is "part of the team" with Kjel and Austin. How does this incident alter the trio's dynamic? How about for Violet in particular?
7. What makes Violet such an adept manager for the Pearltones? Would they have achieved the level of success they did without, as Austin says, Violet's "genius for show business"?
8. Violet happily takes on the role as the Pearltone's manager, but why is she so reluctant to give her own dream of designing clothing a chance?
9. At the beginning of chapter five, Violet (in the present) asks the reader, "What are your thoughts on nature vs. nurture? Do you believe that we come of the chute with our personalities already in place, or do you believe that our upbringing is the bigger determiner of our natures?" How does this apply to Austin and Dallas, and even to Violet, who endured an abusive childhood?
10. Austin says to Kjel, "I was saved by my music…and by my need to help rather than hurt our poor mother, and certainly by books–what a comfort it is to read about someone whose problems outweigh your own by tons." For you, is there any truth to Austin's statement about books?
11. Austin is plagued by guilt because Dallas is indirectly responsible for what happens to Kjel. Is Austin at fault? Do you think he would kick his brother out of the band if he had the chance to do it over again? Do you have any empathy at all for Dallas?
12. When they first meet, Violet and Austin do not get along. Why do they dislike one another so intensely? What turning points can you identify in their feelings toward one another?
13. Birdie asks Violet if she would have gotten together with Austin had Kjel lived. Do you believe they would have become romantically involved had Kjel not died?
14. Do you think Violet truly loved Kjel, or was it the idea of him? On some level, was she aware of her feelings for Austin before Kjel's death?
15. Given the time period in which the book is set, race is a crucial part of the story. How does the author deal with the issue of race? Is it effectively portrayed? Could the cruelty and insensitivity shown toward Violet because of her amputation also be considered a form of prejudice?
16. How does being a child of mixed race affect Austin and Violet's daughter, Miri? How about when she's an adult?
17. Violet suffered from a condition known as tinnitus, although she did not know that for many years. How did the buzzing sound in her ears affect Violet's perception of herself and also the world around her?
18. How do you interpret Violet's dream of Kjel near the end of the story? Is there any connection between the dream and the buzzing in her head disappearing?
19. Which character resonated with you the most? If you could use only one word to describe Oh My Starsg, what would it be?
Oh My Stars
- Publication Date: February 28, 2006
- Genres: Fiction
- Paperback: 416 pages
- Publisher: Ballantine Books
- ISBN-10: 0345468368
- ISBN-13: 9780345468369