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Book Club Reading Questions

Book Club Questions for One Hundred Days by Alice Pung | WellRead’s July 2021 selection

Book Club Questions for One Hundred Days by Alice Pung | WellRead’s July 2021 selection

WellRead’s July 2021 selection was One Hundred Days by Alice Pung. This is a story about complicated love, control, defying the stereotypes of young motherhood, autonomy, generational and cross-cultural clashes, and so much more. Although at times it can feel intensely claustrophobic, there is also warmth, inspiration and humour to be found within its pages.

Use these discussion questions to engage with the book further, whether in a book club with friends, or just on your own as you digest the story. 

Reading questions for One Hundred Days by Alice Pung: 

  • The book is described as a "a modern-day fractured fairytale" In what ways is this true?

  • Consider the different representations of maternal love in the book.

  • What effect did the narration (written from Karuna’s perspective and addressed to the baby in her womb) have on your reading experience?

  • Karuna’s mother says, ‘A girl who makes one wrong move is wrecked for life.’ What does she mean by this? Why might she think this way?

  • 'Girls like me didn’t stop men from carrying on with their lives.’ How does Karuna relate to men in the book? Why do you think this is?

  • In an interview, Pung said that class is in her books "because it’s impacted my life sometimes more than race." How do class and race intersect in the novel?

  • A review in the Sydney Morning Herald said that it was "tempting to see Grand Mar as a villainous jailer denying her daughter a chance to make decisions about her own welfare", but that Pung "also garners sympathy for the lonely, abandoned, broken migrant woman working two menial jobs to eke out a precarious existence". What was your impression of Grand Mar?

  • Did the book end the way you thought it would? If not, how did you think/hope it might end?

  • ‘My shadow can completely cover you if I am not careful, I realise, leaving you cold. I vow then and there never to hover over you and block your light.’ What does Karuna mean by this? Discuss what you think Karuna’s future might look like.

Please note, these questions were written and distributed in July, 2021.