A Discussion of Silver Sparrow

Written by Stella Pool, Monticello Avenue Coordinator


Like many book clubs in the JMRL area, my book group often reads the title for the NEA Big Read. We’ve been together as a group for 15 years and have a diverse reading list of both fiction and non-fiction. We routinely collect a quarter from each member at our monthly meetings and over the years, have donated several books to JMRL. We chose to read Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones this month and as a result, had a lively discussion at our meeting.

Instead of a discussion of who did what in the book, our discussion of Silver Sparrow focused on the relationship between fathers and daughters. We talked about our own fathers and how that relationship affected us as girls and the women we eventually became. Characteristics including displaying affection and our general sense of self-worth were influenced by how we were raised. Some of us are stronger women because of our fathers while others succeeded in spite of them.

Our discussion also touched on whether a man should be judged by the good he does in his lifetime or by his “bad” behavior. Could you excuse James Witherspoon’s infidelity because otherwise he was a good son, husband, father, and friend? Our group was divided over the question while some felt we shouldn’t judge him at all.

I recommend Silver Sparrow if you’re looking for a thought-provoking book for your book club. If you aren’t a member of a book group, join in the discussion at several JMRL branches in March. Just check jmrl.org/bigread for the dates/times.

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