Mrs. Wiley Discussion Questions

1.  How Do You Do, Mrs. Wiley? takes place in a small town.  How is Gwen Wiley an authority figure? Who is she able to manipulate?  How is she able to get away with doing so?

2.  What characters’ names carry significance? What does this add to the story?

3.  What controversial issues take place in the book?  What are some of the ways the characters handle these issues?  Who handles them well?  Who doesn’t?

4.  As bad as Grace’s home life was with her mom and dad, why would she give anything to have it back?

5.  How do the tragedies in Grace’s life affect the decisions she makes as an adult?

6.  How does Grace’s life mirror her mother’s?

7.  What is the significance of dog imagery in the book?

8.  One of the main themes in How Do You Do, Mrs. Wiley? is friendship withstands the test of time.  What are some of the trials Grace, Ollie, and Sadie face that support this theme?

9.  Two symbols in the book are daisies and spiders.  What do they symbolize?

10.  How do each of Grace’s romantic relationships relate to her past?

11.  Why doesn’t Nanny stop Grace from going back to her old home after the neighbor spots her?

12.  What do pancakes represent?  What other food imagery exists and what does it represent.

13.  Several forms of abuse are touched upon in the novel.  What are they and how do they affect the characters who experience them?  How is Grace’s life affected by the abuse to which she is exposed?

14.  Ollie and Sadie are Grace’s two best friends.  How is Grace’s relationship with Ollie different from her relationship with Sadie?

15.  Why does Nanny stereotype rich people?  What other stereotypes exist in the novel?

16.  Jealousy plays a large role in the book.  What are some instances in which the characters envy one another?

17.  What elements of southern fiction appear in How Do You Do, Mrs. Wiley?

18.  Why does the author utilize cliches?

19.  What message about family does the book send?

20.  How does Grace’s grudge holding have a negative impact on her life as well as the lives of others?

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