Oprah's Book Club (Official) discussion

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Philadelphia & Jubilee > Reader's Choice

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message 1: by OBC (new)

OBC  | 316 comments Mod
This is your place to sound off about anything in the Philadelphia and Jubilee chapter. Ask a question or offer your thoughts.


message 2: by Erin (new)

Erin | 0 comments I know I hid this comment in a different thread because it contained spoilers but since it is about this chapter I will re-write it here. I am finding the "healing" techniques that they used at the time to be very interesting i.e. mustard poultices and eucalyptus. I read that mustard poultices went on to cause drastic effects on the people who used them. Some infants ended up being blinded because of this healing technique. I also thought that it was interesting that the doctor recommended NOT using the poultices and right after he left August went and made them anyway.


message 3: by Erin (new)

Erin | 0 comments I was also wondering what people thought about the two quotes at the beginning of the novel before the story actually started? How do you all think they are relevant to the story?


message 4: by Lorrie (new)

Lorrie (lorrier) | 39 comments After reading the first chapter, I assumed the author is also a mother. Is she?


message 5: by Erin (new)

Erin | 0 comments Lorrie wrote: "After reading the first chapter, I assumed the author is also a mother. Is she?"

I'm not sure- It doesn't say on the jacket of my book.


Laurens Bookish Life | 23 comments I'm further on the book and Hattie keeps being referred to as "yellow" does that mean she is a lighter shade of brown. Not as dark as August?


message 7: by Ebonie (new)

Ebonie | 16 comments Lolly, yep that's what it means.


message 8: by Carrie (new)

Carrie Bivens | 8 comments I know the twins died in her arms, in the order they were born, but does it ever mention burial of any sort? I know they struggled with poverty, but didn't know if they were able to provide any kind of physical memorial of sorts.


message 9: by Tracy (new)

Tracy Phillips | 4 comments This first chapter of the book was very moving. It was really this chapter that "hooked" me. The 1920's is a period of time that I am very much fascinated with.

The fact that the story begins in Philadelphia was also a big draw for me. I am very much a big city gal. I grew up in Chicago.

I thoroughly enjoyed Hattie's experience when she first came to Philadelphia with her mother and sisters and also the flashes of description of the neighborhood in which she and August lived.

So yes, I am saying this big city of Philadelphia in which Hattie found herself moved me in addition to the emotion stirred up with Hattie nursing her sick babies.


message 10: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca As mothers we do everything for our children. Hattie sure had a mothers love. Her desperation and frantic moves to save her children were both harrowing and inspiring.


message 11: by Nicole (new)

Nicole Green | 1 comments What I found to be so interesting and captivating about this first chapter was that it tells the story of Hattie, a young African American woman migrating from the south to the north, wanting a life of promise and opportunity for her infant twins (Philadelphia and Jubilee) and tragically they become ill and die. Wowwww I was completely blown away by this!!


message 12: by Laura (new)

Laura | 6 comments This book had me at Chapter one, too.


message 13: by Susan (new)

Susan | 5 comments It was interesting because if it were me today, I would have had them at the hospital pronto but she never did call the doctor or take them to a hospital


message 14: by Linda (new)

Linda (mspianobug) Susan: Hattie did have the doctor around. In those days there wasn't a lot they could do without antibiotice.

"The doctor had come around the day before and advised the steam cure. He’d prescribed a small dosage of ipecac and cautioned against backward country remedies like hot mustard poultices, though vapor rub was acceptable. He diluted the ipecac with a clear, oily liquid, gave Hattie two small droppers, and showed her how to hold the babies’ tongues down with her finger so the medicine would flow into their throats. August paid three dollars for the visit and set to making mustard poultices the minute the doctor was out the door. Pneumonia"


message 15: by Serena (new)

Serena (reenuhgee) This may be the saddest chapter one of a book I've ever read.


message 16: by Sue (new)

Sue (suer620) | 1 comments Hattie lost a piece of herself the day Philadelphia and Jubilee died. It is heartbreaking and is probably the start of building emotional walls and depression.


message 17: by Annie (new)

Annie | 7 comments all I can say about this chapter is that I felt the pain of a mother when the twins died in her arms... it was crazy to me to feel it like if they were my own....


message 18: by Cherie (new)

Cherie (crobins0) Serena wrote: "This may be the saddest chapter one of a book I've ever read."

Now, there is a comment that I can agree with!


message 19: by Laura (new)

Laura Holder | 3 comments This chapter of the book evokes extreme emotion, it's hard not to say why didn't they just........


message 20: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Lingrell (lisa_lingrell) | 11 comments Laura wrote: "This chapter of the book evokes extreme emotion, it's hard not to say why didn't they just........"

I'm with you, Laura. It was like she just gave up, and handed her kids to heaven. Though, it was the sign of the times. At death's door without education or cash, the outcome no doubt, was expected.


message 21: by Jacqueline (new)

Jacqueline (alwayssilver) | 4 comments Lolly wrote: "I'm further on the book and Hattie keeps being referred to as "yellow" does that mean she is a lighter shade of brown. Not as dark as August?"

Yes, that is exactly what it means; that Hattie was much lighter than August. From my experience, "Yellow" was, and in some quarters still is, a term used to denote a very light skinned person of color whose skin shade was not considered to be brown.


message 22: by Katherine (new)

Katherine (khmjerseygirl) | 2 comments I expected a very different outcome when I read, "Hattie knew her babies would survive. Though they were small and struggling, Philadelphia and Jubilee were already among those luminous souls, already the beginning of a new nation." It made what followed all the more heartbreaking.


message 23: by Nadia (new)

Nadia A (bagambo) | 12 comments This is the only chapter I've read so far ( I just started reading this book during my lunch break) and I'm hooked. It broke my heart and I wanted to cry at my desk. The writing is so good that I could easily visualize Hattie and her two babies in the bathroom. Reading about Hattie experiencing her first few minutes in a new city was just mesmerizing and made me smile at her declaration that she was never going back to Georgia - I loved that bit.


message 24: by Heidi (new)

Heidi Marie (sunshineyheidi) I just read the chapter about Ella, and it was heart breaking; however, I respectfully disagree with Oprah's viewpoint on the butterflies in the mason jar. She stated that she felt it was a metaphor for beauty and freedom. I believe, however that the butterflies represented the death of Hattie's last hope. I can see how Oprah could see the butterflies dying as metaphor for how trapped Hattie is. Did this section stick out to anyone else?


message 25: by [deleted user] (new)

RE: HATTIE'S FIGHT

This type of human love doesn't exsist anymore where a person know's coldly without indecision that a complete stranger is the answer to a life problem. When in trouble, how many of us in the 21st century think of a stranger 1st when in need of help? -M.


message 26: by Jane(Janelba) (new)

Jane(Janelba) (janelba) | 5 comments Very powerful and emotional first chapter that has me hooked.


message 27: by Marqueta (new)

Marqueta Bridgeford | 7 comments A child trying to raise newborn babies. The narrator was so descriptive that I could see the steam and smell the poultices. How helpless she must have felt. This life changing event set the foundation for the type of mother she would become. The pain she felt at the moment set her determination in ensuring that her children not suffer. Her intentions were so applaudable but the way she carried them out was so contradictory to what she fetl.


message 28: by Marqueta (new)

Marqueta Bridgeford | 7 comments Mel wrote: "RE: HATTIE'S FIGHT

This type of human love doesn't exsist anymore where a person know's coldly without indecision that a complete stranger is the answer to a life problem. When in trouble, how ma..."



message 29: by Marqueta (new)

Marqueta Bridgeford | 7 comments Desperation......desperation will compell you to forget about your pride


message 30: by Sheila (new)

Sheila | 5 comments I love the last line of the chapter, most probably the saddest line I have ever read in a book.


message 31: by LiteraryMarie (new)

LiteraryMarie Carrie wrote: "I know the twins died in her arms, in the order they were born, but does it ever mention burial of any sort? I know they struggled with poverty, but didn't know if they were able to provide any ki..."

I also wondered about the burial arrangements when I finished reading this chapter. I hope they were able to provide a proper burial for the young twins.


message 32: by LiteraryMarie (new)

LiteraryMarie Sheila wrote: "I love the last line of the chapter, most probably the saddest line I have ever read in a book."

The last line is very sad.


message 33: by Karen (new)

Karen Krstinovski | 18 comments Did you ever have a sense of loss or know of someone that may have had similar loss/experience?


message 34: by Lorrie (new)

Lorrie (lorrier) | 39 comments OBC2 Moderator:

When I first joined this group and introduced myself, you suggested "Wild" to me because of my love for anything coastal. Thank you! I really like the book and find it difficult to put down. There's something about it that reminds me of "Eat, Pray, Love" which I also enjoyed.

On another tangent, I finished "Hattie" before the discussions began. By the time the discussion board really got moving, I was onto several other books and the desire to chat and remember details had already left me. So I've learned from this discussion to read the next book s.l.o.w.l.y.

Thanks again, OBC2 Mod.


message 35: by Anne (new)

Anne (ayenne) | 5 comments The chapter begins with such optimism when Hattie gave her children "names of promise and of hope, reaching forward names, not looking back ones." Hattie is seen giggling with high spirits. By the end of the chapter, Hattie appears to be broken by the tragic loss of her twins. Haddie's struggles were very real and depressing.


message 36: by Khadijah (new)

Khadijah Johnson | 4 comments Jacqueline wrote: "Lolly wrote: "I'm further on the book and Hattie keeps being referred to as "yellow" does that mean she is a lighter shade of brown. Not as dark as August?"

Yes, that is exactly what it means; tha..."


For the longest time I had been visualizing Hattie as a dark brown skinned woman. It wasn’t until “Six” that I realized she was of lighter skin. Once my brain processed those descriptive words…the whole scene changed for me. It’s weird how our brains kinda do that.


message 37: by Alex (new)

Alex Ortiz | 4 comments I was quickly thrown back into my own teen mom days 18 years ago- the feeling of poverty, of helplessness for yourself and for your baby that you love so much. Sadly, we quickly learn that love can only carry you so far...


message 38: by Henry (new)

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message 39: by [deleted user] (new)

The fact that the story begins in Philadelphia was also a big draw for me. I am very much a big city gal. I grew up in Chicago.


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