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Reading guide for Beautiful Little Fools by Jillian Cantor

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Beautiful Little Fools

A Novel

by Jillian Cantor

Beautiful Little Fools by Jillian Cantor X
Beautiful Little Fools by Jillian Cantor
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  • First Published:
    Feb 2022, 368 pages

    Paperback:
    Feb 2022, 368 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Jordan Lynch
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Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide will contain spoilers!

  1. Is Beautiful Little Fools a reimagining of The Great Gatsby, or a murder mystery in its own right, or both? Whose story is this: Daisy's, Jordan's, Catherine's, or the great Jay Gatsby's?
  2. Discuss the role point of view plays in the novel. How do Daisy, Jordan, and Catherine each narrate their story differently? What insights does each woman give to the plot and the reader? The original Gatsby is told through only Nick Carraway's point of view. What is his role in this novel?
  3. Daisy begins with this thought: "Sometimes I think if I'd met Jay Gatsby later, say, after Daddy and Rose's accident, I wouldn't have even noticed him at all. I think how everything, how the whole entire course of my life, and his, might have turned out differently." Do you agree or disagree? How does timing play a role in Jay and Daisy's relationship, in Daisy's life, and ultimately, in Jay's death?
  4. Sister relationships play a big role in the novel. Compare and contrast Daisy and Rose's relationship with Catherine and Myrtle's? How does Rose influence Daisy's decisions? How does Myrtle influence Catherine's? How does the death of a sister impact both women in different and similar ways?
  5. Catherine and her roommate, Helen, are suffragettes, fighting for women's rights to vote, and in the end Catherine works to help abused women. Discuss Catherine's role as an early- 1920s feminist. How do her ideas both reflect and conflict with those of Daisy, Jordan, and Myrtle?
  6. Nick calls Jordan "an incurable liar." How does that description define her character? Is Nick right about Jordan? What do you see as Jordan's defining characteristic?
  7. Mary Margaret tells Jordan that grief is "an endless, winding river," a refrain that comes back throughout the novel. Discuss how this applies not only to Jordan and Mary Margaret's relationship but also to the other characters in the novel. How does grief work as a recurring theme?
  8. Is this novel a love story? If so, whose love story is it? Compare and contrast the romantic relationships in the novel. Consider Daisy and Jay, Daisy and Tom, Jordan and Nick, Jordan and Mary Margaret, Catherine and Jay, and Tom and Myrtle.
  9. The title of the novel comes from the quote Daisy says in The Great Gatsby when her daughter is born: "I hope she'll be a fool— that's the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool." Why is it fitting for the title of this particular book? Are any of the women in the novel Beautiful Little Fools?
  10. Detective Frank Charles was not a character in The Great Gatsby. Discuss the role he plays in Beautiful Little Fools. What do his chapters add to the novel? Compare and contrast his relationship with Dolores to the other romantic relationships in the novel.
  11. Beautiful Little Fools revolves around unraveling who killed Jay Gatsby. But, in the end, there is more than one killer. Who would you consider guilty in the novel and why? Do you believe any of the characters are ultimately justified in their actions?
  12. Reread The Great Gatsby and see how many references from the original you can spot in Beautiful Little Fools! Pay particular attention to the Plaza scene near the end of the book. How does the dialogue take on a different meaning in Beautiful Little Fools than in the original novel?

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Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Harper Perennial. 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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