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Book Club Questions for Don't Put the Boats Away
What do you remember about the period after World War Two?
What struck you as familiar in the early chapters? What did you resonate with?
What did you think about the ways in which the characters of Harriet and Nat developed in Don’t Put the Boats Away?
What did you think of Eleanor’s alcoholism?
Given Harriet’s passion to become a research chemist, what did you think about her staying home with her children while they were young?
What did you think about Nat’s marriage to Dorie?
What did you think about Nat’s giving up his career as a jazz musician?
Which of Harriet’s struggles did you find to be most engaging?
What did you think about Nat’s having Dorie‘s tubes tied without her knowledge after they’d had four children?
Were you surprised to learn that the U of MN was the best heart research center in the country during the early 1950s?
Was there a particular scene that stood out for you?
Which character did you like the most?
Did you find the conclusion satisfying?
What did you like best about Don’t Put the Boats Away?
Questions for Book Clubs Discussing Eleanor's Wars
What did you know about the role of women in World War I before reading Eleanor’s Wars?
What are the major themes of Eleanor’s Wars?
Eleanor’s Wars is built around a number of secrets. What role do secrets play in the novel? Were you surprised by the secrets when they were revealed or had you figured them out?
Which “voice” did you prefer: Eleanor’s or Nat’s? If you could meet either of the two characters, which one would you choose? Why?
Why did Eleanor keep her experiences in the Great War a secret?
Did you find it credible that Eleanor could still be in love with Henri 25 years after his death?
Can you be in love with more than one person at a time?
What did you like most about Eleanor’s Wars?
Why do modern readers enjoy novels about the past? How can a historical novel be a history lesson in itself?
Is there a case to be made that Eleanor’s Wars is not about the 1940s so much as it uses the comfortable distance of that time and place in order to ask questions about war, bullying, homophobia, etc.? Aren’t all novels historical?
Why are there so many books out about World War II these days?
What do you imagine happens after the end of the novel to Eleanor? George? Nat? Harry?
Is there a moral to Eleanor’s Wars? What can we learn about our world – and ourselves – from Eleanor’s story?