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Lucinda's Whirlwind - Discussion Questions for bookclubs

1. Lucinda Ellis, is an intriguing protagonist. She knows that she doesn’t get along with most people and yet she remains undaunted by life’s challenges and totally committed to the idea of speaking her own mind.

How do you feel about Lucinda? Are there aspects of her personality that can be admired? Have you known people like Lucinda? How do you think Lucinda felt about Carol? Do you think it is possible for Lucinda to be happy in the social world? 

2. Jayne Miller, Lucinda's sister, is a much warmer and more considerate character. She seems to intuitively understand what other people are feeling. And yet, after her mother dies, she suddenly flies off to America.

Why does Jayne do this? Does she consciously choose this course of action? Why or why not? What is Jayne really afraid of and why is it that her mother's death has affected her so deeply? At the end of the novel, do you feel that it is possible for Jayne to be happy in her own skin? How might finally reading Carol's letter to Elise have altered Jayne's mode of thinking?

3. Brian, Jayne’s husband, is a nice guy. He loves his wife deeply and he only ever wants her to be happy. Yet he seems clueless when Jayne leaves him and he calls in Lucinda to manage his domestic life.

What is the problem with Jayne’s husband, Brian? What does Aunty Margorie endeavour to 'teach' him? Do you think that, after his experiences on Locke Island, Brian will be changed? How does Brian's approach to dealing with the Aboriginal people on Locke Island reflect his approach to dealing with Jayne in his own marriage?

4. Wesley Heslop is the fourteen year old couch-surfer that Lucinda finds sleeping on Jayne and Brian’s couch. Lucinda finds his presence unnerving at first. He looks so ‘Dickensian’ with that pale white skin and that dark mop of black hair. Jayne’s daughter Madison informs Lucinda that Wesley is an ‘emo’. 

Like Lucinda, Wesley does not seem to want to engage with the social world. Why is that? How do you feel about Wesley as a character? Is he a more sympathetic character than Lucinda? And, if so, why? Why do you think that Lucinda is successful in bringing Wesley down from the roof? Do you think that Lucinda will be able to help Wesley? Do you think that Wesley's fragile personality will be able to withstand Lucinda's honesty?

5. Keiran Waterford, the little boy with Downs Syndrome that Lucinda meets, proves to be the perfect foil for Lucinda’s prickly persona and eventually wins her over. Why is that? 

6. What is the significance of Wesley's Eclectus Parrot in the book? 

 7. Lucinda’s Whirlwind is basically a tale. And in most tales the protagonist goes through a series of trials, or challenges, and eventually wins some valuable prize or learns some important life lesson.

What does Lucinda learn through her relationships with Jayne’s family and through her relationships with Wesley Heslop and Kieran?Does Lucinda learn to be more tactful and considerate? Or does she learn something else?