Are you part of a book club or are you looking to start one? Moments of Glad Grace by Alison Wearing makes a great book club pick! In the novel, Alison accompanies her father, in the early stages of Parkinson’s Disease, on a trip to Dublin to indulge his love of genealogy. Through wit and humor, Alison learns to come to terms with her father’s mortality and realizes that it’s the unremarkable moments that are the most important ones.
Book Club Questions
- Moments of Glad Grace is a memoir that looks at the ties that bind us to family and that considers what is precious to us when the clock is running down on how much time we have left with those we love. Within the specifics of her own relationship with her beloved father, the author manages to create a universal story we can all relate to. How do you think she achieves this? What are the points that resonated most for you?
- The memoir is a love letter to Wearing’s father, but it also a story of falling in love with a new city. We have all experienced falling in love with a new place. Where has this happened for you? What was it about the place that spoke to you? Did the experience change how you looked at home?
- Wearing works to convey important insights through humour. Think of her ongoing struggles with “gynaecological” research and how she balances the humour of this with the poignancy of why she is sticking to it – that it is important to her father. Do you like this as a writing device? If so, why do you think it is successful?
- Wearing has chosen to structure her memoir as a daily diary. Do you think this enhances the immediacy of her writing?
- Joe, Wearing’s father, is interested in gathering the facts of his ancestors’ existence – births, deaths, marriages – while Wearing herself is interested in finding ways of putting flesh on those facts – of getting to the truth of their lives through story. Which camp do you fall into? Do you believe that factual truth is the core necessity of understanding the past? Or do you believe that it is important to dig beneath the facts to find the “ghosts” of those who came before us, to find the motivation and the story that underlay their actions?
- Soon the father-daughter week together comes to an end and both return to their everyday lives. As do we. What were your favourite parts of this story? What are the ‘moments of glad grace’ that you have had with your own parents?