Reading guide for Rise and Shine by Anna Quindlen

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Rise and Shine

By Anna Quindlen

Rise and Shine
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  • Hardcover: Sep 2006,
    288 pages.
    Paperback: Apr 2007,
    288 pages.

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Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!

  1. Rise and Shine centers on the unique bond of sisterhood–potentially 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?
  2. 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?
  3. 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?
  4. 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 Maureen play?
  5. 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?
  6. 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 Bridget?
  7. 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?
  8. 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?
  9. 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?
  10. 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?
  11. 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?
  12. 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?
  13. 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?
  14. 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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