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Book Club Discussion Guide for The Colour of the Sun

The following are questions for your book club discussion of The Colour of the Sun.

In the beginning Gillian’s mother leaves her children with her mother, causing Gillian’s little sister to cry and hold tight to her mother as she tried to leave. Gillian is embarrassed and thinks to herself that children mind their elders. As she gets older, she changes her mind on this. A question to ask your book club is: What was a pivotal time for you as a child when you realized that the adults might not have all the answers? What did you take from that revelation?

When Gillian finally confronts the man who has been abusing her, both physically and verbally for so many years, she finds her voice. We see then that her mother doesn’t act much in her behalf. What are your thoughts on that? Why do you think the people who love us might look away from something that is hurtful to us?

When Gillian’s family moves from South Africa to America, the same racial strains are there, just as painful, but less obvious. The scenes of Gillian in high school are difficult for any teenager, and more complicated because of race. What are some of your early memories of race in your life, in your schools or workplace? Do you feel much has changed? What roles can we play in making changes today?

When Gillian returns to Africa as a young woman with her husband, all the “signs” of Apartheid had been removed. Literally, the actual signs proclaiming what whites could do and where “coloureds” were allowed were gone. Going back to our past hurts is confusing. What of your past would you revisit today that would look totally different? How would that make you feel?

After realized she was experiencing PTSD and working with a therapist, Gillian comes to terms with her attacker through a letter that was raw and heartfelt. It allowed her to move past the scars that were keeping her from having a healthy life. Have your book club take some time in silence during which you all write some form of a letter to someone who affected you, good or bad, in your life. Write stream-of-consciousness. Don’t edit yourself. What do you feel when you read the letter you’ve written?

I hope your book club has enjoyed The Colour of the Sun. Feel free to email me with your insights and thoughts, and for any further topics of discussion for other book clubs who are reading and discussion The Colour of the Sun.

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