Jul 10th, 2012 by Annie
The Year of the Gadfly by Jennifer Miller
|The Year of the Gadfly by Jennifer Miller
Young Iris and her parents have moved to a new town to help Iris recover from the tragic loss of her best friend. But Iris is struggling and finds comfort in her ruminations with her imaginary friend and mentor Edward R. Murrow, the famed broadcast journalist.
On the first day of school at Mariana Academy, Iris and the other new students, receive a blank copy of The Devil’s Advocate, the paper distributed by the secretive Prisom’s Party, and a threatening message. Iris is deteremined to find out who is behind it.
Book Club Ideas
The decorations for The Year of the Gadfly can include the following:
- photo of Edward R. Murrow downloaded from the Internet
- a framed definition of Gadfly (from wordpundit.com)
- newspaper covered table with clear plastic over the newspaper
- a notebook with Iris’ name and pencils
- a bottle of Lily Riesling wine
- bouquets of lilies and irises
A theme song for your book club party could be Another Brick in the Wall by Pink Floyd from the album The Wall. Even though the song is not about bullying, it is about school and not having control over one’s life.
Book Club Menu
The appetizer I prepared, Olive and Pecan Bites, is inspired by the multi-eyed Argus of Greek mythology whose image graced a wall in the Trench.
High school kids and pizza … The Trench kids and Lily have pizza at Hazel’s house and Lily and Justin have pizza at the Kaplans where the pizza was served on paper plates, not served on china like the Morgans did. I’m opting for paper plates for this party.
I picked up a several Take ‘N’ Bake pizzas from Papa Murphy’s. Each pizza half was prepared differently for plenty of variety. Serve pizza with a nice green salad like this Spinach and Red Grape Crunchy Salad.
Did Jonah ever get the PBR Hazel promised? I don’t think so, so I included Pabst Blue Ribbon beer with in the PBR Tiny Chocolate Cheesecakes I served for dessert.
Book Club Resources
Ratings at the time this post was published
|Goodreads: 3.76 stars (293 ratings)|
|Amazon: 4.3 stars (29 ratings)|
|LibraryThing: 3.78 stars (9 ratings)|
|My Rating: 3.75 stars Even though I enjoyed The Year of the Gadfly, I wasn’t completely engaged by the characters and found the atmosphere somewhat lacking. Most of the book club loved the novel.|
The following discussion questions are adapted from the publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
- Dr. Kaplan introduces his students to extremophiles. What is an extremophile and how does it relate to Iris and her fellow students and to the environment of Mariana Academy?
- Iris spends quite a bit of time having imaginary conversations with Edward R. Murrow, and fantasizing about the lives of Lily, and Dalia. Why does she do this?
- Have you ever been a victim of bullying, witnessed bullying or been a bully yourself during school? How does your experiences compare to the bullying depicted in The Year of the Gadfly?
- The story was told from different points of view, in first and third person accounts, and over different decades. Did you find these devices effective to the action in the story? Why or why not.
- Who was your favorite character or which point of view did you most enjoy in The Year of the Gadfly?
More discussion questions from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt can be found HERE at ReadingGroupGuides.com.
Purchase The Year of the Gadfly at your favorite bookseller
|Jennifer Miller was educated at Columbia University, earning an MFA in fiction writing and an MS in journalism. She is originally from Washington, D.C. and currently resides in Brooklyn, New York with her husband, Jason. Learn more about Jennifer Miller and her current projects at www.byjennifermiller.com|
Personal Insights, Favorite Quotes, etc…
My favorite section of the novel was the scene where Dr. Kaplan administers the Stanley Milgrim shock experiment on the kids in his science class. I was not familiar with this psychological test and was quite impressed with both sides of the experiment.
Do you have any other ideas or recipes for a book club party for The Year of the Gadfly? We would love to have you share them with us! You can leave a comment below and upload pictures as well.
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