Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Discussion Questions for "You Make Me Feel Like Dancing"
You Make Me Feel Like Dancing is the first of three novels in the Va
Va Va Boom series. The “boom” refers to the baby boomers, people born
between 1946 and 1964. Baby boomers today, of which approximately
38 million are women, represent 28 percent of the U.S. population.
Boomer women are some of the healthiest, wealthiest, and best-educated
women ever to hit midlife. Identified by the National Association of
Baby Boomer Women as “faithful, loving, and hardworking women
who multitask to survive,” members of this powerful sisterhood hail
from various backgrounds and carry different baggage, but most share
the desire to make a difference. It is for this stalwart demographic of
vibrant women who want to make a difference that the author has
written the Va Va Va Boom series. She welcomes you to discuss the
questions below in your book clubs and to communicate directly with
her via e-mail at AB@AllisonBottke.com.
1. What are some of the major themes of the book? Did the author
effectively develop these themes? If so, how?
2. Is there anything in this story to which you can personally relate?
Did you find yourself identifying with a particular character or
characters? (You don’t need to be a baby boomer to enjoy the
story!) Are there any ideas or advice you can apply to your own
3. Brought together in an online community known as Boomer
Babes Rock, Susan, Patricia, Mary, and others form fast
friendships even though they live in different parts of the
country and lead completely different lives. Do you believe the
close online friendships the author has described are likely or
possible? What kinds of benefits or problems could stem from
this special kind of relationship?
4. How important is the setting to the story? Did the setting of the
novel detract or add to your enjoyment of the story? Did it raise
any questions or concerns?
5. How effectively does the author portray the presence of
spirituality in the characters’ everyday lives? Has she succeeded
in presenting faith in a way that feels relevant and relatable? Are
there specific characters whose beliefs resonate with yours?
6. One of the issues Susan faces in parts of this book is the tension
of living “in the world” but not being “of the world”—that is,
living in her culture without compromising her beliefs and being
a credible witness to those who might not share those beliefs.
Her particular “world” is flashy Las Vegas and the glitzy disco
culture. Do you think she did a good job of living out her faith
in that world? In what ways have you felt a tension between your
faith and the culture you live in?
7. At several points in the novel, we see Susan wrestling with the
ability to communicate openly with her husband. How does this
issue apply to the story? How does it apply to your life?
8. Susan had the opportunity to fulfill one of her most important
dreams, yet she was prepared to sacrifice that dream to save her
marriage. Have you ever been called to sacrifice a cherished
dream? Describe the experience and what (if anything) you
learned from it.
9. The first three books in the Va Va Va Boom series feature Susan,
Patricia, and Mary—three baby boomer women who are living,
loving, and enjoying making a difference in their world. From
what you have read so far, where do you think the author
will take these women in subsequent books? What aspects of
their experience are specifically “boomer” and what are more
10. Each lead character in the Va Va Va Boom series owns her own
business, representing a unique generation of women who
have made choices to survive and thrive in sometimes difficult
circumstances. Discuss some of the challenges Susan faced as a
business owner and Loretta experienced as an employee.
11. Money plays a significant role—both positive and negative—in
this book. What are some of the money issues that arise between
Susan and Loretta, Susan and Michael, Susan and Lily, Ryan and
his father, and others? How have money issues affected your own
life and relationships and your spiritual journey?
12. Susan is a passionate, loving, faithful, trustworthy individual
who, at midlife, is suddenly faced with making a choice destined
to send her on an unexpected journey. What other choices could
she have made? Have you ever been faced with the need to make
a life-changing choice?
13. Susan had a painful secret in her past that held her prisoner for
years. How would things have been different if she had fully disclosed
everything to Michael years before? How can secrets hurt
a relationship? Is there ever a time when maintaining a secret is
the best thing to do?
14. What are your thoughts about Susan’s decision to not look for
her daughter and about Michael’s choice to find her?
15. Story lines within the Va Va Va Boom series will address timely
issues of special interest to the baby boomer demographic such as
empty nesting, aging parents, menopause, divorce, widowhood,
retirement, sexuality, Alzheimer’s, drug-addicted adult children,
grandparenting, adoption, sexual abuse, bankruptcy, adultery,
health, post-abortion stress syndrome, and more. Which of
these issues would you most like to see the author address in
subsequent books? Why?
16. What did you like or dislike about the book that hasn’t been
discussed already? Were you glad you read this book? Would you
recommend it to a friend? Do you want to read more works by
this author? Why or why not?