On Borrowed Wings by Chandra Prasad
Reading Group Guide Introduction On Borrowed Wings
is the impeccably researched and imaginatively written story of Adele Pietra, a bright and restless girl raised by an unhappy couple in the granite town of Stony Creek, Connecticut. Determined not to follow in her mother's footsteps and marry a quarryman, Adele spends the summer of 1936 dreaming of escape and adventure. When her brother Charles is killed in a mining accident she sees her chance and, assuming Charles's identity and gender, enrolls as a freshman at Yale. Adele befriends a lively crew of undergraduate boys, including charismatic troublemaker Wick Foster. Despite her admirable navigation of Yale's rigorous social and academic pressures, great obstacles spring up along the way. Her work with a mentally unsound eugenics professor, her inconvenient crush on Wick, and her mother's unexpected meddling threaten to put an end to Adele's masquerade and her chance for a better life. Questions for Discussion
1. On Borrowed Wings
contains rich and historically accurate detail about a place few people have experienced firsthand. What did you learn about the collegiate experience in the first half of the 20th century, and about Yale in particular? What interested you most? What aspects of Yale's history would you have liked to have seen explored more?
2. When Amelia Earhart gives her speech at