TRUE CONFECTIONS Discussion Questions

1. How reliable a narrator is Alice? Do you trust her? She observes the hidden meanings and subtle inflections all around her, but is she equally aware of her own subtexts?

2. Can you identify moments in each chapter of True Confections in which Alice adds meaning to what she experiences or describes? Can you identify moments in each chapter in which Alice seems to overlook or gloss meanings in what she experiences or describes?

3. Are Little Sammies racist? What does it really mean to be racist? If you are aware that others may define something you have said or done as racist even if it was not your intention, is it still racist?

4. True Confections is a novel in which there are many instances of lies and deceptions. Alice stakes a claim for her own veracity starting with the title of the book. What is the truth about the history and meaning of Willie Wonka's lovable Oompa Loompas? What is the truth about the runaway boy from the cacao plantation on Ivory Coast? What is Howard's relationship with his relatives in Madagascar? What is the truth about Frieda Ziplinsky's chicken soup recipe? Is Alice entirely innocent of the arson charges that seem to be a pattern in her life?

5. Why do you think Alice cheats on her psychoanalyst by seeing another therapist on the side?

6. Why is Alice so eager to become part of the Ziplinsky family?

7. Why is Alice's relationship with Sam Ziplinsky so much more successful than her relationship with Frieda Ziplinsky?

8. The Madagascar Plan is a historically true though unrealized goal of the Third Reich during the Second World War. Were it not for Julius Czaplinsky's ambitions when he learned of it, which in turn led to the establishing of a Madagascar branch of the Ziplinsky family, what do you imagine Alice's marriage to Howdy Ziplinsky would have been like?

9. Did reading True Confections change the way you think of chocolate? Did reading the book make you crave candy? Which kind? Did you succumb? Did you gain weight while reading True Confections?

10. What would it be like to have Alice Tatnall Ziplinsky as a member of your book group?