As I mentioned before, every week I'll suggest chapters to complete by the next post (which, in this case, will go up every Friday in February). In these weekly Book Club posts, I'll posit a few questions to prompt discussion in the comments section.
The first assignment was to read from Spring 1521 to the end of Spring 1524. Of course, you are welcome to read beyond the weekly chapters, but please don't spoil anything in the comments! After the jump you'll find some questions that struck me as I read this first section.
The next assignment: Read from Summer 1524 to the end of Spring 1529.
Ready to discuss the first section of The Other Boleyn Girl? Just
- At this point in the book, who is your favorite character? Who is your least favorite character? Why?
- Why do you think Mary is the narrator of this story, rather than Anne?
- Which do you think is more important for Mary: love or social advancement? What about for Anne?
- In the Boleyns’ situation — Mary being used to advance the Boleyn and Howard families — love and sex are treated as part of the game, as clinical tactics for getting what the family wants. Can you imagine viewing sex and/or love in this way? And do you think there’s an empowering aspect to the way the Boleyn girls use their sexuality for advancement? Or is it just repressive and depressing?
- On the one hand, the men in this book seem to have ultimate control, choosing whom their daughters will marry and plotting their families' rise through the kingdom. At one point, Mary even tells a poor farmer that he's better off than she is just because he's a man. On the other hand, so much — bearing children, wooing the right people — is up to the women. George, for example, can't do nearly as much as Anne or Mary can to secure his family's rise. What do you make of the men's roles up to this point?