BKMT READING GUIDES

The Quality of Life Report
by Meghan Daum

Published: 2003
Hardcover : 320 pages
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One of today's most admired new voices blends social critique and a bittersweet love story marked by both style and ...
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Introduction

One of today's most admired new voices blends social critique and a bittersweet love story marked by both style and substance.

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Discussion Questions

Questions from the Publisher's Reading Guide:

1. If Lucinda was allowed to report without the dictates of the Up Early staff, what are some of the Quality of Life segments you think she might have produced?

2. Space is a character in itself in the novel. Discuss the ways in which Daum uses space to illustrate Trout's journey.

3. Hayley Bopp, the self-exploitative Web diarist-turned-novelist, figures throughout the book. On some level she acts as its villain. Why is she such an important counterpoint to Lucinda?

4. What did you make of Christine? Did you find her lack of personality frustrating? Or were you more troubled by the fact that others imposed such expectations on her based on her physical, racial, and educational credentials?

5. Did Mason's addiction come to you as a surprise? Or could you see the warning signs ahead of Lucinda?

6. Why was Lucinda so surprised that Faye and the New York Magazine reporter appreciated Mason's paintings? What does this reveal about her character?

7. What are some examples of ways in which Lucinda tries to mold others to her own ideals?

8. Lucinda says: "The horror of being judged was nothing compared to the fear of being dull, of being less than endearing, of being written off as a loser." How do you feel about this statement?
9. Why does Lucinda ultimately decide to make Prairie City her home? What is she sacrificing with this decision? What is she gaining?

10. The humor in the novel invites the reader to relate to Lucinda's journey as she experiences it. Could the same story be told with an omniscient narrative? What would be different?

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