The Art of Seeing
by Cammie McGovern
Reading Group Guide Summary: The Art of Seeing
chronicles the intricately woven lives of two sisters: plain and responsible Jemma, and flamboyant, brooding, beautiful Rozzie. Their complex dynamic is tested and strained when Rozzie is suddenly thrust into a career as a Hollywood actress. Self-doubting Jemma toils as a fledgling photographer, drifting in and out of school and often accompanying Rozzie on exotic film shoots. As Jemma struggles with her work and relationships, Rozzie is gradually forced to reveal a secret she has kept from her family for years -- she is losing her eyesight. Finding herself in an unusual position of power, Jemma begins to take charge of her life and Rozzie's with a series of actions that threaten to undo their already fragile bond. Questions for Discussion:
1. Why does art play such an important role in the novel? In what ways does art define life for Jemma and Rozzie?
2. Jemma says: "Anecdotes about the rich and famous make people cough into their fist or refold a napkin, staring into their lap. For a while I couldn't figure out why..." (p. 22). What is it that makes these people uncomfortable? How does society respond to fame in the novel?
3. How does Rozzie's fame affect the way Jemma sees herself and others? How does fame diminish those who are famous and the people around them? How does it build them up? Matthew's father is a famous writer. He