Tonight we are privileged to welcome Wendy Burden, author of DEAD END GENE POOL, to our Spring Reading Series discussion. She will be here “live” participating in our discussion and answering questions for one hour beginning at 5 pm PST (8 pm EST) in the comments section of this post.
The conversation got going in this post, where I posed some discussion questions for everyone and asked for questions for Wendy.
I’ve been gathering your questions for Wendy and of course would welcome more. Here’s what we have so far:
Here’s a comment from Lisa at Lit and Life, followed by a question from me:
One thing I found really interesting was how Wendy’s grandmother just threw money away in some ways (like buying prescription eyeglasses and then just tucking them away in a drawer) but was so tight with money in other ways (like stiffing the cabbies). Any idea why she was that way?
From Nancy at Bookfoolery and Babble:
I’m curious who is on the cover of the book. Wendy’s mother or grandmother?
From Gaby at Starting Fresh:
Wendy comes across as so witty, intelligent, and spirited in the book. Is she willing to tell us more about her life after the book ended? We know that she’s owned and been a chef at Chez Wendy, but who did she marry? Why did she decide to live in Oregon? How is she raising her children? How does she fill her days (aside from writing and touring)?
So many of us dream of money to become financially independent, have the mortgages paid off, take any job that we want, etc. How has she chosen to shape her life and what makes her happy? What would a perfect day for her be like?
Who does she like to read? What is she reading now?
From Bellezza at Dolce Bellezza:
Is your irreverant, and often hilarious sense of humour, a way of covering up any pain you experienced in your unconventional upbringing?
From reader Vance Lancaster:
1. How much wealth was left when your grandparents died and how was it distributed? Did the fact that your brother was a co-executor of the estate affect the distribution or cause any problems?
2. What happened to each of the homes owned by your grandparents? Are they still standing? If so, do you know who owns them now and have you ever re-visited them?
3. I assume that most of your grandparent’s art collection went to MOMA. Was any great art left to you or your brothers or to your uncle? If so can you tell us who got what?
4. What is your most cherished item left to you by your grandparents? Is there anything that you coveted that went to someone else?
5. I understand that one of your uncles is alive and living in CT. Are you in contact with him? Can you describe his life today? Do you know if he has read the book and, if so, what was his reaction?
6. At the end of the book, you discover that Charles Thomas, your mom’s lover, contrary to what your mother told you is still alive. Have you made any attempt to contact him or has he reached out to you since the book was published? Have others that knew your mother or grandparents reacted strongly to the book?
7. Are your mother’s ex-husbands alive and are you in contact with them?
8. I understand that you have two daughters. Are their lives, in any way, similar to yours with your siblings. Do you recognize any of the traits of your relatives in them?
Edited to add:
From Ash at English Major Junkfood:
Did you write these as individual essays and then pull them together for a book, or did you know when you were writing that you wanted this to be a cohesive memoir?
Come by tonight at 5 pm PST (8 pm EST) to say hi to Wendy and see how she answers our questions! Hope to see you then!