Anne Arundel County Public Library discussion

King Peggy: An American Secretary, Her Royal Destiny, and the Inspiring Story of How She Changed an African Village
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Book Discussions > King Peggy by Peggielene Bartels and Eleanor Herman

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AACPL Anne Arundel Public Library | 180 comments Mod
Welcome to our One Maryland One Book book discussion!

AACPL Anne Arundel Public Library | 180 comments Mod
How's everyone enjoying our September book so far? We'll get into some discussion questions in the coming days/ weeks but here is a link to check out more information about King Peggy if you want to take a look: There's background information about the authors and some links to interviews King Peggy did on CNN. All very interesting! Feel free to chime in with where you are in your reading and if you've finished give us a quick response about why others who haven't started might want to pick this one up! Happy Holiday Weekend!

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Gail Schumacher | 62 comments I read this book last week & it's definitely one of the most humorous books I've ever read in my life!!! What Peggy went thru dealing with her kingdom---A Comedy Of Errors throughout, but All's Well That Ends Well! Totally different from last month's book---it's even better if you read it aloud! Anybody that doesn't like this book at all is an old fuddy-duddy---& it's all a true story!!!

message 4: by Janice (last edited Sep 09, 2013 10:28AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Janice Allen | 8 comments I've started reading this book, and finding it very interesting to learn about cultural practices and history of Ghana, all information that I have never encountered, in a delightful format. So far, I am very much enjoying it.

September 8---I've finished the book, and really enjoyed it. Aside from what King Peggy did to transform her town, reading about life in Ghana was fascinating. The book is crammed full of colorful characters. Well worth reading.

message 5: by Gail (new)

Gail Schumacher | 62 comments I started reading this book a 2nd time 9/7 Sat & this time I made a list of all the people Peggy met---at least 50 so far, mostly relatives; when I read it the 1st time it was more exciting, but this time around my mind becomes more clear in retaining all info she had to deal with in Otuam, Ghana. Also when I read any inspiring or humorous passages from a book I journal them in my notebook for future reference whenever I become depressed due to The Great Recession.

Janice Allen | 8 comments Gail wrote: "I started reading this book a 2nd time 9/7 Sat & this time I made a list of all the people Peggy met---at least 50 so far, mostly relatives; when I read it the 1st time it was more exciting, but th..."

That's a great idea, Gail. I am always finding things when I read, and I think "Gee, I'm gonna have to remember that", and of course I never do. A reading journal sounds like a fun project.

message 7: by Gail (new)

Gail Schumacher | 62 comments Well, I just learned that I won a free copy of this book, but I'm still going to put the passages in my book journal anyway.

AACPL Anne Arundel Public Library | 180 comments Mod
I'm enjoying reading the comments so far! We'll be starting with some questions about the book soon so stay tuned!

AACPL Anne Arundel Public Library | 180 comments Mod
Let's get the discussion started with a question everyone can participate in - even if they just started the book! What were your thoughts on Peggy's initial reaction to the phone call letting her know she had been chosen as king, and how do you think you would react if you were in her position?

Diane | 7 comments I have just started reading "King Peggy" and finding it most interesting and "fun." I am at the point where she gets her "4:00 a.m. wake up call" -- dream sequence or for real?? Laughing at her reaction to someone telling her she is "King" -- what a way to wake up! Her conversation and side thoughts are so human. Ready to read more to find out just what happens!

Carol Jen | 18 comments That's what I think I liked about it the most, that she was so obviously a regular (and funny!) woman just trying to make ends meet and live her life that already had stresses ... who suddenly became a king. Very entertaining!

Eowyn (eowynth) | 8 comments I would probably react the same as Peggy, "Why is someone calling me at 4 in the morning?!?" She learns her uncle has died and she has been selected king -- that's a lot to take! I seem to recall she was suspicious of fraud; which seemed to be rampant, at the time, in her village. I would have interrogated the caller also when the kind of news is delivered. I liked hearing about the traditions of her village and laughed out loud when she learned she was selected King because the "schnapps steamed up" when her name was spoken.

Paula Swann | 1 comments Peggy's reactions to the 4:00 a.m. call to become king were so genuine. Her authentic voice really drew me into the book. I, as the reader, could really feel the enormity of the responsibility she was asked to take hold while she was deliberating her response. I honestly wondered whether I would be courageous enough to accept as she did. There were so many problems to deal with in her village that she knew of even before she returned. She had a comfortable life, but she decided to give that up to challenge herself and act on behalf of the greater good. She is a hero!

message 14: by Gail (new)

Gail Schumacher | 62 comments my home phone is disconnected & my free welfare cellphone is always turned off when not in use, so somebody would have to bang on my front door to wake me up at 4 A.M. Also considering that the cousin who told her this turned out to be a swindler, which Peggy didn't know at the time---I would probably have to check out the informer to make sure it wasn't a scam, but otherwise I wouldn't mind being the ruler of a kingdom.

Peggy Barry | 5 comments Like this Peggy, I would also think the phone call was a scam. I loved the natural way the story was told, as if she were speaking to the readers. Peggy combines the best of African and American cultures, African and Christian religious beliefs, and a genuine empathy for people.

AACPL Anne Arundel Public Library | 180 comments Mod
People have touched on this some already but what are some of the biggest challenges King Peggy faced? Would you have handled any of them differently?

Eowyn (eowynth) | 8 comments I understand Peggy had to tread lightly with her countrymen but I wanted to scream when she didn't follow her instincts about the theft of funds. It took her so long to callout the thieves.

I was so happy when she added females to her council. That is one of the first things I would have done; but again she is the first female King so one thing at a time in a country previously ruled only by men.

message 18: by ally (last edited Sep 22, 2013 09:11PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

ally (ally_b) This is a complicated question, because I think my answers are different from what Peggy herself conveys in the book.

In my opinion, her biggest challenge was that of the corrupt elders taking advantage of the transistion from sick old King Joseph (who never returned from the village) to Peggy, and how they thought it was their right to do so. Even though their actions are funny to read about, this is a sad and shameful continuing theme throughout the book.

Peggy blames most of this on the fact that she is female, and that the elders dared to continue the corruption because she was a woman and not to be respected. "I am a woman with breasts!!" she said when she was expressing how she felt. As an American woman raised to be assertive, I would have fired all the elders - family or not - and started fresh, including the witch doctor who lost the keys to the stool room and drank all the schnapps! I suspect the men acted this way out of long practice, not just because she was female, and that they would have tried the same silly shenanigans even if the new King were male. Once someone thinks they've "earned" the right to have (building supplies, whiskey, fish taxes, etc), it's hard to convince them otherwise. Because of the culture and practices of Otuam & Ghana, however, Peggy couldn't just fire her council.

Peggy needed to consider her extended family and the responsibilities of her office. She was challenged to follow "rules" such as paying for things, not eating or drinking in public (I'll have to try those yams) and helping her people with a small budget. I would have been calling everyone I knew to ask about loans and grants. Or writing a good book to raise funds!

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Gail Schumacher | 62 comments The Royal Funeral of her Uncle Joseph---when she 1st had doubts about the body in the morgue, she should have asked her trusted female relatives about him & possibly the council of chiefs, because even her male relative/town elders deceived her---only Joseph's 3 daughters aka the harpies, her cousins, couldn't be trusted among her relatives.

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Dacarson | 2 comments She was at the Baltimore Book Fair this weekend. Anyone get a copy signed?

AACPL Anne Arundel Public Library | 180 comments Mod
Great thoughts about the challenges she faced, and she did face (and overcome!) a lot of them. Here's a new question that I think will bring up some interesting conversations: There are many different cultural traditions in the book. Which did you find most interesting and why? What are some traditions that you practice?

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Gail Schumacher | 62 comments When she prayed to her dead ancestors, including her beloved mom & Jesus, for guidance in helping her village or dealing with the crooks in town---the only thing I didn't like about this was her pouring the booze on her wooden floor inside her condo front door---it's a wonder that it didn't drip thru to the downstairs neighbor's ceiling or that the condo association didn't get after her for that, but maybe they didn't know then---but after this book came out, they did. And the dead ancestors would help her by harming anyone who tried to harm her, like Uncle Moses/crooked Town Elder. I usually call on my dead relatives & friends & the Jesus Trinity to help me in my daily life, especially when I'm in danger.

Peggy Barry | 5 comments The booze on the condo floor was strange, but what I found interesting was the way she combines her African heritage and her Christian faith. It's amazing that she persevered. It would have been easy to throw up her hands and just give up

Carol Jen | 18 comments Interesting thoughts... I also was fascinated by the pouring of booze on her floor.. especially at her condo... maybe it's because I've had upstairs neighbors with leaks!

AACPL Anne Arundel Public Library | 180 comments Mod
Thank you everyone for a great discussion! Here is an interesting article I came across today about King Peggy visiting a local Maryland school. Happy Reading!

Peggy Barry | 5 comments So fitting that she is helping in another way by inspiring students!

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