Voices of the Ancestors

Looking for an entrancing title for your book group or just a good summer read? Try Pat’s family memoir, House of Houses, a rich blend of poetic language and elements of magical realism.

Questions for your personal reflection or to enjoy with your book group or class.

1. In what ways is House of Houses like and unlike other memoirs you’ve read?

2. Why do you think memoirs have become such a popular genre?

3. Name the person you connected to most in the book and describe the reasons why.

4. The author asks “Why do certain events become central memories, part of the core life story we create about ourselves?” (page 24) How would you answer?

5. Spanish words and phrases are used throughout the book. How does this affect your reading and understanding of the memoir?

6. How is your family like and unlike the Mora family?

7. Look through family photographs taken before you were born. Choose one and write a page about it. Would you like to share your piece with your reading group? A family member or friend?

8. The author refers to her childhood home as the “house of houses.” What does she mean? Would you describe your childhood home as your “house of houses”? If not, what three or four words would you use to capture your feelings?

9. What humorous scene and sad scene most appealed to you? Why?

10. The family stories in this memoir are organized through different seasons or rhythms – the rhythms of the garden, the church liturgy, the family. What seasons or rhythms would you use to organize your family’s stories?

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