- Publisher : Viking (May 9 2023)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 240 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0593490924
- ISBN-13 : 9780593490921
- Item weight : 567 g
- Dimensions : 14.61 x 2.36 x 21.74 cm
1. For both Qing and Connie, the places where they were born and the places they chose to call home were not the same. Do you identify more with one hometown or another? Is “home” a geographic location to you? Why or why not? 2. Connie’s relationship with her mother changes when she begins to see Qing as more than just her mother and, instead, as a whole person. Have you experienced this with a family member, and was there a catalyst for it? 3. As a kid, Connie identified with the protagonists of her favorite books and TV shows. As she grew up, she realized some of those representations did not prepare her for the real world. Are there figures in pop culture or literature you grew up identifying with? Do you still see yourself in their stories? 4. As soon as Qing starts to travel outside of the United States, her perspectives about so many things begin to shift. Have you had a profound travel experience before? Are profound travel experiences usually comfortable or uncomfortable? 5. In the book, words like “exotic” and “outlandish” are used to describe American foods and concepts like stacked pancakes and parking lots. How did seeing those concepts described as “foreign” make you feel? 6. Qing is initially hesitant to tell her story because she thinks that Americans only want to hear about traumatic events from people like her: “People want to hear about immigrants’ suffer.” Even though many people would see that Qing has suffered in her own way, why do you think she would choose to see her life differently? 7. Qing loves fashion and Connie loves books. These are two mediums that have helped them live their lives in more creative and fulfilling ways. What are those mediums for you? 8. In the last chapter, Connie attempts to define love based on her changing relationships with Qing and her son. How do you define love now, and has that definition changed in your life? 9. Much of Connie and Qing’s relationship with each other is framed by an inability to completely understand each other—because of language, life experience, and other reasons. How has this dynamic affected their relationship? Are there positive aspects to this dynamic? 10. A theme of the novel is learning to embrace what brings you joy no matter what other people think about it. For Qing, that means going to with Connie. Why do you think Qing stops worrying about what others think as she gets older and her relationship with Connie evolves? 11. When Connie goes to China as a child she’s shocked to learn that it’s not the “backward” country she thought it was and that kids know about geopolitical events she’s never heard of. And they don’t think she’s especially interesting because she’s American. What does this say about Connie’s upbringing in America? 12. How does the author’s use of realistic “broken” English feature in the book? How does it affect the way you see Qing as a reader? 13. The theme of invisibility recurs throughout the book in various ways. The author writes “when you’re invisible, you can do whatever you want.” What do you think the author means by this? Why do Qing and Connie take comfort in feeling invisible? Is this at odds with Qing’s love of personal style?