Trixie Goforth
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Scroll Down for a Reader's Guide to The Days Between the Years

Reader's Guide
Sherry Austin's
The Days Between the Years

When the story opens, Trixie Goforth has already had "visitations from the other side" and more are to come. What purpose do the ghosts serve in the story? Do you think they exist outside her perception?

Trixie Goforth was hardly a saint, either as a child or as an adult woman. Describe some of her flaws and strong points. Have you ever known someone like her?

Trixie feels her children have forced her into a straightjacket by not allowing her to drive and by "threatening her with incarceration" at the Methodist Home. It's likely that those same children, growing up, felt Trixie was cramping their style. Discuss this common role reversal that occurs between generations.

When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, millions of Americans' lives changed forever. One theme of this novel is how they changed in small ways not counted in casualty statistics. How does September 11, 2001 compare with December 7, 1941 as "a day that will live on in infamy" both in world history and in personal lives?

How do the setting and era influence Trixie's decisions and mold her life?
How are social conditions then different from today's? How might a woman today handle Trixie's predicaments?

Discuss what you know about everyday life in the Depression and World War II eras, either from your own memory, or from tales passed down from parents or grandparents. Do you think it's important to preserve them in some way?

The author uses commercial culture elements such as Ivory soap, Spam, Mr. Clean, and Betty Crocker; radio programs such as "Jack Benny"; soap operas such as "Search for Tomorrow," the "Edge of Night," and "Peyton Place," to root the heroine's experience in her time. Looking back on key eras of your own life history, what products and pop culture items bring those days back to you?

What are the cultural markers of our day? How do you think future generations will look back on us and our time? What little stories might get lost if we don't preserve them? Does it matter?

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