Questions for Discussion
1. Lauren St. John opens her memoir with the quote, "The barb in the arrow of childhood's suffering is this: its intense loneliness, its intense ignorance," from The Story of an African Farm
by Olive Schreiner. After reading about Lauren's childhood in Africa, how do you think this quote applies to her? Why do you think she wanted us as readers to keep this quote in mind when reading her story? Can the above quote apply to your own childhood?
2. Why do you think it is important that we know the history of Rainbow's End and its various residents, including the tragedy that befell the Forresters? In what way is Lauren's story about every family that has lived there? How have they created a shared history?
3. As a child, Lauren has very definite views of the blacks among whom she lives. She says that, "All terrorists are black, but not all black people are terrorists. (Pg 33)" On Page 27 she writes a list of other "Accepted Facts about Africans." Do you think that Lauren was racist in her childhood? Can an eight-year-old girl who is simply reciting what she has been taught be categorized as racist? At what age or level of understanding is it fair to hold someone accountable for their beliefs?
4. Discuss Lauren's relationship to animals. She is "crazy for horses" and just about any animal under the sun. How did her childhood obsession help build her relationship with her father? Do you think it also spurned her