Introduction

Title page of manuscript

Title page of manuscript

  • Léna Roy describes her grandmother’s struggle to get published. What makes a successful writer or artist? L’Engle used to say that if you write, you are a writer, whether you are published or not. How important is recognition for an artist?
  • Roy outlines the autobiographical aspects of the story. Do you think it’s important to know the biography of a writer? How does it effect they way you read the story?
  • L’Engle said that the theater is a wonderful training ground for a writer. In what ways are acting and writing related? What skills are transferrable?

Thematic Questions and Activity Suggestions

  • The characters in The Joys of Love spend a lot of time observing and assessing each other’s actions, motives and lives – – frequently making assumptions and drawing conclusions. Write down 5 things about yourself you think your friends know about you – qualities you feel make you, you. Then ask a friend to do the same. Exchange lists. With this information revealed, discuss how you might become better friends.
  • The Joys of Love was based on Madeleine’s own summer stock experiences. How is this book like a Reality TV Show? If it were a Reality TV show, who might the main characters be today?
  • This book takes place in 1946. What do you know about the 1940’s? Does anyone have grandparents or great-grandparents whom you can invite to speak with the group about what life was like then? Or visit a Senior Center with the group.
  • Visit a local theater during a rehearsal or invite the players to your library or school. Meet the lighting director, the stagehands, the costumer and ticket taker, as well as the actors and director. Interview them, asking them questions such as why did you pursue this work, where did you study, how did you get your first job, what do you like most about it, least, what was the scariest thing you ever had to do to make sure the show went on, etc.
  • Watch the film 1950 movie “Summer Stock,” starring Judy Garland and Gene Kelly. The story even includes a “dance off” in the barn between the farmhands and the actors. And a (chaste) love triangle with a very happy ending with the song “Get Happy.” This song has been covered dozens of times. It’s also currently being used in television commercials.
  • Internships. They’ve been in the news. Discuss the economics of internships and the different forces at play. If internships are unpaid, and necessary to gain training and work experience, does it put young people who don’t have means at a disadvantage?