Celebration! Discussion Guide
Group Discussion Guide
Created by author, Kay Moser
Kay Moser is available for 30-minute phone discussions with reading groups. Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a discussion with your group.
Note from Kay: Feel free to discuss only the questions you are comfortable discussing. Some questions are formulated for your personal reflection only.
1. A fundamental theme of Celebration! is each human being’s search for a feeling of personal worth. Consider pivotal characters like Rachel, Patsy, Mammy Cassie, Grandmere and Lovey. What is the basis for each of these characters’ feelings of worth?
2. How successful was each of these characters in achieving a lasting sense of worth?
3. Why do you think some characters learned to know their worth and others did not?
4. Rachel is initially convinced that her Grandmere was just born feeling good about herself. What does the character Andre Simone teach Rachel about her grandmother? Why is it so important that she be enlightened about the true circumstances of her grandmother’s life?
5. Why are Sassy and Chelsey so crucial to Rachel’s understanding of her worth? Why is Garth Gunner so crucial?
6. Consider the society you live in and list the bases for worth your society embraces. (Making an actual list will enable your group to better discuss this fundamental theme of Celebration!)
7. How many of your society’s bases of worth do you find yourself trying to achieve?
8. When you do achieve a basis of worth as defined by your society, do you feel better about yourself? How long does this good feeling last?
9. Do you find that your society shifts its bases of worth fairly frequently? Why do they make these shifts?
10. Do you think that possibly you are allowing your perception of your worth to be dictated by external influences?
11. When you were growing up, did your family also have “requirements” for worthiness? Does your current family have such requirements?
12. What can you do to help yourself feel your worth in a society (and/or family unit) which profits from making you feel worthless?
1. Lovey says that forgiveness is a necessity if we are to feel our own worth. Whom did Lovey need to forgive? Whom did Rachel need to forgive?
2. Are there people you need to forgive for making you feel worthless?
The Disease to Please
1. A major pitfall for women is our obsession with pleasing everybody. In order to please someone, you generally must make them happy. Consider Rachel’s attempts to please her mother, Patsy, and her father, Jack. Remember how anxious she was that Grandmere like her. Consider how she continued this pattern with her husband Collins.
2. Can a person actually make another person happy? Do you feel responsible for the happiness of someone else? How much can you contribute to this person’s happiness? How much of this person’s happiness is a matter of his/her choice?
3. Notice that Rachel even tried to “please” God into accepting her. Consider the chapter when Rachel and Aimee try to persuade God to make Aimee white. Does this scene (in spite of its comic elements) remind you in any way of your own relationship to God?
Darkness and Light
1. Celebration! is filled with references to darkness and light. In fact, when Rachel remembers her childhood experiences, she remembers the “hobo” who told her she was worthy and she says of him, “I suppose his words have always been there to battle the darkness.”
Of her Grandmere’s eyes she says, “There was a peace, an unexplainable, extraordinary serenity with life that shone from her eyes. I always felt certain that she was seeing something beautiful all around her-something that I could not see directly. I could only hope to glimpse a reflection of this beauty as I watched her react to it.”
Do you think there is a battle between darkness and light in the world?
2. Is there a battle between darkness and light also going on inside you? Consider the thoughts that constantly flit through your mind. Do they tell you that you are good or bad? Do they create anxiety or depression in you or do they give you a sense of serenity?
3. Can you take control of your thoughts? Which thoughts would you keep? Which erase?
4. If you do take control of your thoughts, can you choose to feel worthy (at least most of the time)?
Dear Readers, I would love to hear from you! Please send me your comments regarding Celebration! or this discussion guide. If you enjoyed discussing Celebration!, please recommend it to your friends and other reading groups. Thank you for your support of smut-free fiction!
Kay Moser e-mail: email@example.com