Book Club Questions

Discussing the Love of Finished Years? Here are twelve book club questions to facilitate your discussion and enjoyment!

  1. How has the immigrant experience changed from the 1910s compared with today? In what ways is it similar?
  2. In what ways does Elsa resist the expectations that are placed on her: by her parents, by society, by herself?
  3. How does Elsa’s experience as an uneducated immigrant in America differ from Sonya’s? Why?
  4. Was the women’s general strike a success? What can we learn today from the women in the garment industry in the 1910s?
  5. Elsa experienced two drastic changes, first moving from Germany to the United States, and later moving from the Lower East Side to the high society of Long Island. How did these changes prepare her for what was to come? Have you ever experienced a change so extreme and if so, how did that change you as a person?
  6. What changes and why with the dynamic between Dafne, Elsa and Glenn when they move to Manhattan?
  7. What do you think motivated Dafne to cheat on Glenn? Did she simply get carried away, or was something deeper going on?
  8. What allows Elsa to come to terms with her feelings for Glenn? If she hadn’t been through the earlier experiences, do you think she would have had the courage to act on those feelings?
  9. Do you think the United States was right to join World War One? Why or why not?
  10. What do you think it would have been like to be an ethnic German living in America during either of the World Wars?
  11. What inspired Glenn to save Hal’s life, even after he had been betrayed by him? Would you have acted the same way in that situation?
  12. How have the expectations of their families and society changed for Elsa and Glenn after the war? How has his injury changed both of their idea of what’s most important?