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Make Your Home Among Strangers
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Make Your Home Among Strangers (August 2018)

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Casey (claplante) | 19 comments Mod
Discussion Questions from the Publisher
1. Lizet is on a very different path than that of her older sister Leidy, a single mom living at home. Describe their relationship as sisters. Where do they have common ground?

2. Do you remember the Elián González story from 2000? If so, did you recognize the fictionalized references in this novel? How did they contribute to building the picture of Lizet’s hometown and Cuban-American culture in Miami?

3. Describe Lizet’s relationship with her mom. Do you feel compassion for Lourdes as she tries to navigate the parallels between Ariel Hernandez’s journey and Lizet’s own?

4. Why does Lizet feel like a fish out of water both at Rawlings and at home in Miami?

5. Which scene was the most powerful for you as a reader? Why?

6. How are Lizet’s goals for her future aligned with her mother’s, and how are they different?

7. How does Lizet cope with the challenges of being a minority student at Rawlings? What could the school administration do differently to support her?

8. Have you ever experienced culture shock like Lizet does at Rawlings? How did you cope?

9. Who was your favorite character? Who was your least favorite?

10. What could Lizet do, if anything, to bridge the cultural and generational gaps with Lourdes?

message 2: by Beth (new)

Beth | 1 comments I enjoyed this book, especially as a higher education professional. I'll respond briefly to a few of these questions and look forward to additional engagement from others.
1) They have so much common ground, even though it isn't evident in all their interactions. They are both looking for identity and purpose and affirmation and love. They are defensive with each other yet protective of each other to outsiders - very typical. It's hard but typical when siblings are labeled for a single trait (the "smart" one) when that trait is just one dimension.
2) Yes, I remember Elián González and the iconic picture of him in the closet during the raid. I don't remember the politics around it at the time, so it was interesting to learn more through the novel.
3) I didn't connect with Lourdes at all. I understand a "search for self," but the character wasn't "set up" enough for her erratic actions to resonate with me.
4) The locations were so dissimilar, it was understandably hard to fully find her place in either. The weather was an easy metaphor to consider the drastic differences in the two environments.
5) Three college scenes - the ice skating scene, the concert scene, and her first laboratory class... all three gave glimpses of her getting out of her head and showing a capacity for embracing herself, her talents, relationships, and potential.
7) I love this question. I read the scene of her reaction in the orientation meeting to some student services colleagues - and also her meeting with the honor committee - it was insightful to consider her reaction to and interpretation of these two engagements with college administration and consider our processes from her perspective. So many layers to explore here.
9) Ethan was favorite. Lourdes was least favorite.

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