Creola's Moonbeam Readers' Guide

1. Honey Butler, the main character, is suffering a bit of mid-life crisis. Do you believe most people of a certain age go through a despondent period of self-searching renewal, or is the idea of a "crisis" just another stereotype attached to mature adults?

2. Honey's relationship, as a child, with her beloved black nanny, Creola, gently echoes the affectionate stereotyping of kindly black women who have helped raise generations of white children. Do you believe this image of black women--and their adoring white wards--is harmless and loving, or somehow racist and condescending? Positive, or negative?

3. Beatrice, Honey's free-spirited mentor at the beach, embodies the joie de vivre often portrayed as a hallmark of wise, older people. Do you think it's true that, as one gets older, one becomes less concerned with the judgments of others and more likely to express herself in surprising, even outlandish ways?

4. Honey and Mary Pearle have a contentious but loving and close sisterhood that has carried them through many bad times. What is it about the bonds of sisterhood that makes it such a strong but volatile relationship?

5. Honey fears she's losing her creative writing inspiration. Do you believe even the most joyful passion--hobby, job, or entertainment--can overwhelm a person with its demands? Do you believe people can suffer burn-out from caring too much about something? If so, how can they get their joy back?

6. In the end, Honey concludes that true joy can be found in inspiring others as Beatrice inspired her. This kind of selfless--and sometimes self-sacrificing--attitude seems to be a constant theme in women's lives. Are women "brainwashed" to believe that serving others is their highest calling? Does our society encourage men to be selfless in the same way?