Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
Rise and Shine centers on the unique bond of
sisterhoodpotentially one of the most supportive, competitive, and
difficult relationships in life. Describe Bridget and Meghan's relationship
and how each woman views her sister, and herself. What roles do they each
play? Does this portrait of sisterhood reflect your own relationship with a
sibling, or perhaps with a close friend? Do you identify with one of the
Fitzmaurice sisters more than the other?
Meghan's audacious on-air slip, and its repercussions, incites the
novel's forward action. How would you judge the seasoned anchorwoman's
mistake? Was she wrong to let her personal opinion and emotions show? Do you
believe that the network's reaction was justified? Finally, what was the
public's response to Meghan's fall from grace?
Describe Anna Quindlen's portrait of New York City. Is the Big Apple
"unequivocally the center of the universe," as some New Yorkers believe?
Compare Bridget and Tequila's experiences at the shelter with Meghan's
worldview from the Upper East Side. How does Quindlen attempt to capture all
sides of the city?
Describe Meghan and Bridget's conflicting perceptions and memories of
their mother. How does the loss of their mother shape the Fitzgerald
sisters' lives and ways of relating to each other? What role does Aunt
Is Evan justified in leaving Meghan, or do you agree with Bridget, that
there must have been another woman in the picture right from the start? What
factors led to the failure of their relationship? How does Bridget deal with
the breakup? Meghan?
Meghan retreats to Jamaica to escape the turmoil in her life and, in
doing so, detaches from her old persona and responsibilities. What did you
think of this episode? Was Meghan being selfish by isolating herself? How
did it affect Leo? Bridget? Or was this period in Meghan's life necessary
and inevitable? Finally, discuss the outcome of the trip. Does Meghan
sustain this growth of character when she reenters the real world? How about
What attracts Bridget to Irving Lefkowitz? Describe Irving's attitude
toward children and his reaction to Bridget's unexpected news. Will this
relationship work for Bridget? Why or why not?
Bridget's daily experience in New York City is marked by relationships
with "familiar strangers." What does she mean by this? Are there "familiar
strangers" in your own life?
Discuss Meghan's role in apprehending the shooter in the Tubman
projects; was her involvement self-serving, or was she defending her son and
the safety of others? What were her true motivations, and how were her
actions perceived? Do you agree with Meghan's decision to take matters into
her own hands?
Quindlen writes in the first person, from Bridget's perspective. What
effect does this narrative viewpoint have on the story? How would the book
be different if it were told from Meghan's point of view?
In the last few pages of the novel, Quindlen writes, "Does someone have
to break so someone else can be whole?" (p. 268). Who in Rise and Shine
breaks, and who has been made whole? Is there more than one way to think
about this question?
The dust jacket for Rise and Shine shows a beautiful butterfly, a
symbol of metamorphosis. How does the concept of change apply to the
characters in the novel? Consider, especially, Meghan and Bridget, Evan,
Leo, Irving, Tequila, and Princess Margaret. Have you undergone similar
changes in your own life? Finally, how did your opinion of the Fitzmaurice
sisters, and your assessment of their relative strengths and weaknesses,
evolve over the course of the novel?
What do you think defines a "successful" life? According to your
definition, who is the most successful character in Rise and Shine?
Does success equal happiness? How does that concept play out in the novel,
and what do Bridget and Meghan come to understand by the end?
Does Rise and Shine have a happy ending? What new directions and
challenges face the Fitzmaurice sisters, Leo, Irving, and the others?
Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Random House.
Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.
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