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Making Up As I Go Along by M. T. Lennon

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The questions that follow are intended to enhance your group's reading and discussion of MAKING IT UP AS I GO ALONG by Maria T. Lennon


1. Saffron alternately refers to California and Africa as “going home.” Discuss the concept of home as presented in the book. How does Saffron’s idea of home differ from that of her friends in L.A.?

2. Why do you think Saffron joined the class at the Pump Station? Is her membership there out of character?

3. Saffron makes costly and painful errors of judgment throughout the story. Given her track record, do you feel confident in her decision to trust Joseph? Why or why not?

4. Saffron feels that she has sold out by not talking honestly with Alice in criticizing the extravagance of their Pump Station friends. Why can’t she relate to Alice, whose experience most closely resembles her own? Do you think this is dishonest or unkind?

5. What does Saffron learn from Anika’s friendship? Do you think Anika learns anything from Saffron?

6. Monique tells Saffron that she will be a good mother because “we bounce off our pasts.” Where do you see this concept at work in the book? How does it apply to Francis, for instance?

7. Why do you think Saffron is unable to see some of the obvious signs that Francis and Blue are leading her astray? Were you fooled by Francis? Why or why not?

8. What do you think of Oscar? Does he love Saffron? Was Saffron in love with him?

9. When Saffron sees a picture of Nancy’s husband, Stan, for the first time, she is struck by his unattractiveness and marvels at how Nancy can moon over him as she does. What do you think of her response to the picture–and to her friends’ relationships in general? Do you think she judges them fairly? Why or why not?

10. Do you feel that Saffron is a reliable narrator? Considering that her first version of the story she told her friends included the false detail of Oscar’s death, are there other details you think she may still be withholding or editing for her audience?

11. What do you consider to be Saffron’s biggest mistake?

12. What do you think of Heaven? Was she a good mother to Saffron? Is there anything she should have done differently to protect her adopted daughter?

13. Would Saffron be a more compelling heroine if she made smarter choices? Do you like her? Why or why not?

About the Author

Maria Lennon is a graduate of London School of Economics. She traveled and worked in Europe where she started writing her first novel. She now lives in California with her husband and three children.

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