Reading Group Guide for Fall On Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald
1) In the Prologue "Silent Pictures", the author sets the scene through a narrator's voice and drops you into the middle of the Piper family's tangled relationships. Did the tale unfold as you expected? Who did you first believe the original narrator was? Think about how the narrator's voice changes throughout the novel. How does the shifting point of view affect the telling of the story?
2) When Materia runs away with James at 13, Mr. Mahmoud makes her marry James but then gives them a house and disowns his daughter. Were you surprised by the apparent contradiction? What kind of message did this send to Materia, her mother and her siblings? And, what role do you think this abandonment plays in her unraveling?
3) James is a complex character. In some ways we feel compassion for him but in others we grow to hate him. Discuss what you think drove him at times to protect his family and at times to destroy them? What do you think his motives were for the choices that he made?
4) Religion and skin color play a large role in separating and defining the characters in this novel. For example, Mrs. Luvovitz, Materia's only friend, is Jewish and married to the kosher butcher. James is Protestant and married to the Catholic Materia. Materia's father was Catholic but claims he took the name Mahmoud in honor of the Muslim woman who protected him from death. Also, Materia is Lebanese and dar