So Far Away: A Novel

By Meg Mitchell Moore
Binding:Hardcover
Publisher:Reagan Arthur Books, (5/29/2012)
Language:English



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Thirteen-year-old Natalie Gallagher is trying to escape: from her parents' ugly divorce, and from the vicious cyber-bullying of her former best friend. Adrift, confused, she is a girl trying to find her way in a world that seems to either neglect or despise her. Her salvation arrives in an unlikely form: Bridget O'Connell, an Irish maid working for a wealthy Boston family. The catch? Bridget lives only in the pages of a dusty old 1920s diary Natalie unearthed in her mother's basement. But the life she describes is as troubling - and mysterious - as the one Natalie is trying to navigate herself, almost a century later.

I am writing this down because this is my story. There were only ever two people who knew my secret, and both are gone before me.

Who was Bridget, and what became of her?

Natalie escapes into the diary, eager to unlock its secrets, and reluctantly accepts the help of library archivist Kathleen Lynch, a widow with her own painful secret: she's estranged from her only daughter. Kathleen sees in Natalie traces of the daughter she has lost, and in Bridget, another spirited young woman at risk.

What could an Irish immigrant domestic servant from the 1920s teach them both? As the troubles of a very modern world close in around them, and Natalie's torments at school escalate, the faded pages of Bridget's journal unite the lonely girl and the unhappy widow - and might even change their lives forever.
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"So Far Away: A Novel"
By Meg Mitchell Moore

Average Rating:

This book has not been rated


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 General reading guide discussion questions to be used with ANY book your book club or reading group might be discussing.
 
 

1. The main characters in So Far Away are all female but very different in terms of age and experience. What similarities do they share, and what connections do they forge throughout the course of the story?

2. Thirteen-year-old Natalie becomes a victim of cyberbullying, which escalates in intensity as the novel progresses. How do the adults in her life react to her troubles?

3. Does any adult do the right thing to help Natalie, and, if not, what would the right thing have been?

4. One reason Natalie’s bullying problems are so painful for her is that one of the main perpetrators was formerly her best friend. Is this depiction of shifting adolescent female friendships realistic? Why or why not?

5. Kathleen’s daughter Susannah, who ran away from home as a teenager, is a constant presence in the book, though we never meet her directly. How does her story enhance or illuminate Bridget’s and Natalie’s struggles?

6. The existence of Bridget’s journal, which details a period of time in her life as a domestic servant in the 1920s, eventually serves as a connection between Natalie and Kathleen. What other purpose or purposes did the journal serve?

7. A main theme of the novel, which Bridget O’Connell Callaghan writes in her journal, is that solace can come from unlikely sources. Do you agree with this sentiment? Which of the characters eventually find this to be true?

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