Thursday, August 29, 2013

Something Strange and Deadly: Book Club Discussion #4

It's hard to imagine that this is the final week of Susan Dennard's SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY book club.  It kinda makes me feel a little like this:


But now, it's on to this week's question, the final question:

 “‘Eleanor, you have a choice,’ [Jie] said softly. ‘You always have a choice’” (p. 166, Something Strange & Deadly)
How do you think this quote relates to the overall theme of Something Strange and Deadly? Do you think Eleanor behaves as if she has a choice at the start of the book? What about at the end of the book? And do other characters behave as if they have a choice or do some see themselves as victims of circumstance? 

"You always have a choice" could've been the subtitle to SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY.  Every character, from Eleanor to Daniel, and Clarence to Elijah, all had choices of how they would continue their lives.  Whether they wanted the end results, each made their own decisions and dealt with the consequences.

At the beginning of the book, Eleanor had very little choice in how she could live her life.  With no family other than her mother (and no sight of Elijah anywhere), Eleanor must've felt like nothing she would ever do would matter, that her mother and society would always govern her life.  She was absolutely a victim of the era of which she lived.  It was when she met the rag-tag band of the Spirit-Hunters that Eleanor's life did a complete 180.  For the first time in her life, she saw a group of people who made their own decisions, who decided how they would live their lives, who didn't care what society thought of them.  Their strong-will and determination lit a fire in Eleanor that had been stirring far within her, and allowed her to believe in herself and her own future.  Even though at the end of the book, she bid farewell to her new group of friends, she knew she would never be the same person, that she finally had a choice, a say, in how her life could be lead.

The Spirit-Hunters were unlike any other characters in the book.  Although Joseph, Jie and Daniel had widely different personalities and backgrounds, each had a common trait: choice of mind.  Joseph, the strong-minded leader, allowed nothing to stand in his way.  Jie,(my favorite character in the series!) the strong girl who never believed she couldn't do anything a man could do while remaining true to herself in the process.  And Daniel, the lone-wolf who finally found his pack and never looked back.  All three chose what they believed to be best for themselves and for the people of Philadelphia.  Sure, they could've easily packed up their inventions and headed to safer places, but they chose to stay and help, fighting the living dead, with no respect for their goodwill.  But none of them did what they did for accolades, instead they chose to follow their hearts and beliefs.  And that's what, I believe, changed Eleanor from a victim of circumstance to the leader of choices.

                                *Character cards courtesy of

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