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Book Club Reading Questions

Book Club Questions for Women and Salt by Gabriela Garcia | WellRead’s June 2021 selection

Book Club Questions for Women and Salt by Gabriela Garcia | WellRead’s June 2021 selection

WellRead’s June 2021 selection was Of Women and Salt by Gabriela Garcia. In the words of the author: “In Of Women and Salt, the protagonist Jeanette struggles with drug abuse and abusive relationships as a teenager against a backdrop of Miami over decades—the bonds and fractures with family in a changing Cuba, with a mother too full of her own secrets to see her daughter’s secrets, with a city where ICE raids have become commonplace and privilege, race, and class dissolve the notion of a monolithic Latinx community. The novel traverses decades and nations from nineteenth century Cuba to present-day Mexico, from a cigar factory to a family detention centre”.

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 Of Women and Salt by Gabriela Garcia: 

  • What do you think was the significance of the recurring phrase “we are force”?

  • Mother-daughter relationships are the heart and soul of this book. Which relationship affected you most profoundly and why?

  • In what ways are literacy, reading, and the value of the written word highlighted in the book?

  • “Even as a child, Jeanette understood that another narrative she couldn’t access had shaped her life. She didn’t have the vocabulary to say, I want to know who I am, so I need to know who you’ve been." Unpack that! (Which is to ask, how does Jeanette's longing to know her mother's past impact her life?)

  • How do you think Carmen's upbringing shaped the mother she became?

  • In an interview, Garcia said that she didn't believe there was such a thing as "the immigrant experience", and to refer to it so broadly is flattening. In what ways does Garcia write against a monolithic experience? How do the characters' experiences with immigration differ?

  • "Women have carried me, made me who I am, and I really wanted to write against tropes that reduce women, in particular, immigrant mothers—to their suffering or their sacrifice—and to really portray the depths and the multitudes that exist within every woman.” How does Garcia illuminate these sentiments in her writing?
Please note, these questions were written and distributed in June, 2021.