The Interruption of Everything (Mcmillan, Terry)
by Terry McMillan

Published: 2005-07-14
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(Terry's back-and better than ever.

Abridged CDs - 5 CDs, 6 hours

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Chapter 1

The only reason I'm sitting on a toilet seat in the handicapped stall of the ladies’ room is because I'm hiding. My break is just fifteen minutes long and I’m trying to decide with the help of a book on the subject of ‘the change’ if Paulette was really on to something when she suggested I get a blood test to see if my hormone levels were diminishing. And if it turns out to be true, I might want to get them replenished with something besides the Good & Plenty I’ve been eating by the handful for the last seven or eight months and I don’t even like licorice. I’m also sitting here with an old issue of Bead & Button trying to figure out if I should’ve played it safe and used plastic instead of glass beads since I just had to make my very first jewelry attempt a gift, and because sometimes I do think that more is better, just had to add three strands more than the instructions called for and now I don’t know how to close up the ends. I’m not used to asking for help. ... view entire excerpt...

Discussion Questions

1. Compose a self-improvement list similar to Marilyn’s; try to include items large and small. Discuss your choices and priorities. What has kept you from accomplishing these goals?

2. Which dreams have you realized so far in your life? How did you achieve these successes? How have your goals changed as your life progresses?

3. Name the three generations of women represented in The Interruption of Everything and the concerns particular to each. What are the differences and similarities between each stage of life?

4. Men and women have different reactions to aging. Why do you believe this is? Compare the midlife stereotypes for men and for women.

5. Lovey and Arthurine demonstrate two different experiences of old age. Does either woman represent any hopes you have for your own future? Any fears? Do you recognize aspects of yourself (or your own parents) in either character?

6. Marilyn refers to her ex-husband Gordon as her soul mate, but has shared a life with her husband Leon. What are the different personality traits we associate with the idea of a soul mate as opposed to a life partner? Which traits are more desirable, and why?

7. Do you think Leon was telling the truth about Costa Rica? What was really going on with him? Was Marilyn right to let him back into her life?

8. Discuss the incidents of poverty, violence, and drug use in the novel. Why do you think the author included these scenes?

9. In the book, the characters demonstrate a broad range of approaches to the parent/child relationship. Choose the parent/child pair you find the most compelling, and then explain its strengths and weaknesses. Are there any completely “good” or “bad” relationships?

10. What does the title, The Interruption of Everything, mean to you? In what way is the novel’s ending also a beginning? What are your predictions for the next stage of Marilyn’s life?

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