Reading guide for Big City Eyes by Delia Ephron

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Big City Eyes

A Novel

By Delia Ephron

Big City Eyes
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  • Hardcover: Apr 2000,
    227 pages.
    Paperback: Aug 2001,
    256 pages.

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Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!

  1. How do Lily's "big city eyes" deceive her when she first arrives in Sakonnet Bay? How does her opinion of this sleepy village change over the course of the novel?
  2. What do you think Lily's life was like in Manhattan? Do you think Sam is the only one who needs saving?
  3. Lily finds the natural world around her threatening. Can you relate with her concerns and anxieties? What is your opinion of the vast night sky?
  4. Lily is tortured by the fear that her son is a freak and she is to blame. How much responsibility do parents bear for their children's behavior? Where and how do you draw the line?
  5. Lily tells Tom that she and Sam matter too much to each other. Do you think this is an accurate assessment?
  6. Throughout the novel, Lily struggles over how to protect her son while still giving him space to grow. Do you think she manages to find some balance? For parents, when is it time to intervene?
  7. Lily's life illustrates how difficult it can be to juggle single parenthood and romance. How does a woman (or man) balance the responsibilities of parenthood with her (or his) own emotional and sexual needs?
  8. What is your opinion of how Lily handles the issue of Sam's sex life? What would your approach be?
  9. Lily suffers from great guilt over the effect of her divorce on her son. Do you agree with her opinions regarding the impact of divorce on children?
  10. How do you think Sam would respond to his mother's opinion that his parents' divorce broke his heart?
  11. Do you think Lily gives us an accurate portrait of her ex-husband Allan? How do you think he would describe her?
  12. Discuss the importance of an intact family versus the needs of individual members. How do you keep these in balance?
  13. What effect does falling in love with others have on Lily and Sam's relationship?
  14. What do you think of the character of Tom McKee? What do you think motivates him?
  15. Discuss the motives behind the infidelity in this novel.
  16. Did your opinion of Sam, trapped in the throes of teenage angst, change over the course of the novel?
  17. Did you enjoy Lily's columns? Did you have a favorite among them?
  18. Were you surprised by the identity of the murderer?
  19. Besides Lily, which characters were your favorites and why?
  20. One reviewer has remarked, "By presenting a wider set of obstacles and a detective who needs to find out more than just 'who done it,' Ephron's Big City Eyes lets the reader share a triumph wider than simply catching a killer." Do you agree? Do you find the mix of genres satisfying?
  21. Do you think Lily made the right decision in the end? What would you do in her shoes?
  22. How does your group decide what to read? Why did the group choose this book?
  23. How does this novel compare with other works the group has read?
  24. What is the group reading next?

Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Ballantine Books. 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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