Reading Group Guide
Reading Group Guide: Dollar Daze
By Karin Gillespie
1. Attalee Gaines is the queen of sassy one-liners! For example, she points at Mavis's Aqua Bra-enhanced cleavage and declares, "Victoria spilled her secrets" (89). What do Attalee's jokes add to the novel? Attalee also experiences the greatest loss of all the Bottom Dollar Girls. Do you think her personality has changed by the end of the novel? Why or why not?
2. The first page of each chapter features a funny quote from Cayboo Creek signs, jukebox selections, and bumper stickers, such as "When I married Mr. Right I didn't know his first name was Always" (67). Which did you find the funniest? Which quote reveals the most about what will happen within its chapter?
3. In Chapter 7 Attalee and Mrs. Tobias shop for a present for Mavis at the Last Chance Flea Market. Which booth at the flea market has the funniest name and the strangest wares? What do Atalee and Mrs. Tobias eventually select as Mavis's "Bizzie" gift?
4. Mavis thinks to herself glumly, "No, Mavis didn't have nearly as much [as Birdie] to offer Brew: just warmed-over chicken divan and artificially enhanced cleavage" (88). Do you think this statement is true? If not, what does Mavis have to offer to a potential boyfriend? (For a start, you can check out Mavis's "best points" on page 3.)
5. Elizabeth and Timothy visit several child care facilities in Chapter 12: Lads and Lasses, Kinder Corral, Kid Kingdom, and Posh Playcare. Which of these facilities made you laugh? Does Mrs. Pirkle's day care seem like a good compromise for Elizabeth and Timothy? Why doesn't it work out?
6. Rusty passes the "fingernail test" that Attalee recommends - he curls his fingernails to look at them. Do you think this is a valid test? Do you think there's any one way to gage a man's romantic interest in this "mezzosexual" (121) age, as Attalee calls it?
7. Mrs. Tobias recalls something her mother used to say: "NOKD. Not our kind, darling" (160). What does this saying mean? Do you think Mrs. Tobias can ever fully escape the idea of NOKD? Do you think there is ever such a thing as "our kind," when it comes to who we fall in love with? What do the Bottom Dollar Girls think?
8. How did you react when you read Mavis's Aqua Bra incident at the Bizzie Awards? Did you see this disaster coming? Two Cayboo Creek residents are quoted recalling the incident on page 211 - how does this make the scene even more humorous?
9. Elizabeth realizes her dream to combine parenthood and business with "A Place for Us," an activity space for children and parents. How did Elizabeth come to realize her place in the world? Why do you think this worked out for her?
10. When Mavis and Birdie realize that Brew was using them to lure Prissy Stevens back to Cayboo Creek, they promise each other, "Let's never, ever let anything separate us again" (275). Do you think men frequently come between best friends? How could Mavis and Birdie have prevented their weeks-long fight? How much of their argument was really over Brew, and how much about each woman's insecurity?
11. Mrs. Tobias calms Attalee's wedding jitters by quoting from Reader's Digest: "Leap and the net with appear" (311). What does this saying mean? How does it inspire Mavis, too?
12. Each of the Bottom Dollar Girls has a strong, sparkling personality. Which character do you relate to the most, and why?
13. Can you imagine Dollar Daze set in your town or city? If so, where would the Bottom Dollar Girls gather? Are small businesses like the Bottom Dollar Emporium welcome where you live? Why or why not?
14. Where do you picture each of the Bottom Dollar Girls - Mavis, Birdie, Attalee, and Elizabeth - five years later? Which of the Girls do you think will have found lasting love? Which might change jobs, or retire?
Enhance Your Book Club:
1. Cayboo Creek's "Bizzie" Awards banquet had an Academy Awards theme, and so can your book club meeting! If you're the host, lay out a "red carpet" (or a red bath mat) near your door and interview each book club member as she arrives. A snapshot of each member's glamorous arrival, along with a quote or two about "who" she's wearing today, could make a fun book club scrapbook!
2. Have each member of your book club bring a wrapped gift from your local dollar store to the book club meeting. By picking names out of a hat, select who will exchange gifts, so everyone will have a dollar-store prize to take home!
3. Stores like the Bottom Dollar Emporium seem to have innumerable items, but how many can you name? Set a stopwatch for one minute. Have each book club member write down a list of items - from crayons to crowbars - that could be for sale at the Bottom Dollar Emporium. Whoever makes the longest list in one minute gets to pick the next book club selection!
4. Design a custom bumper sticker for your book club! Use the quotes at the beginning of each Dollar Daze as inspiration, such as Atalee's bumper sticker, "They're not hot flashes, they're power surges" (51). Decide with your book club whether to use a beloved quote from Cayboo Creek, or to make up your own funny saying. You can design and order custom bumper stickers for everyone at www.makestickers.com.