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Book clubs  •  31 May 2022


The Making of Her book club notes

An absorbing story to discuss with your book club.

The Making of Her is a page-turning mother-daughter love story that spans across decades charting one woman's journey to escape the legacy of the society that shaped her. 

It is an absorbing novel that celebrates the strength of women, with many thought-provoking themes that make it a perfect read for book club. 

Discussion points and questions:

  • Why do you think the novel is titled The Making of Her?
  • The story is set in Dublin. In what ways do you think the city shaped the Egans' lives?
  • What path do you think Joan's life would have taken if she hadn't received Emma's letter? 
  • How did you interpret Joan's decision to sleep with Martin before he goes to London?
  • Did you empathise with Martin? And if so, when and why?
  • At one point Martin asks Joan: 'Why can't we leave the past where it belongs?' Why do you think he finds this so easy to do, and Joan finds it so hard?
  • Discuss the role of men throughout the story. 
  • Were you surprised by Emma's decision at the airport towards the end of the novel?
  • What did you make of Joan and Carmel's relationship as the novel went on, and of Carmel's forgiveness? 
  • How does social class affect the lives of the characters in the novel?
  • In this multigenerational story, we see the reverberations of the choices made by grandparents and parents, and the scars they have left on Joan, Carmel and Emma. In what ways do those scars reveal themselves, and is it possible to break the cycle?
  • How did you interpret the ending? For you, was the major plot of the novel about the cost of keeping secrets or the power to choose?

The Making of Her Bernadette Jiwa

The Making of Her is a page-turning mother-daughter love story, spanning the 1960s to 1990s, charting one woman’s journey to escape the legacy of the society that shaped her.

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