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About this book
- WINNER of the 2020 Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour!
Aspiring novelist Molly MacGregor’s life is strikingly different from a literary heroine's. Named for one of literature’s least romantic protagonists, Moll Flanders, Molly lives in Edmonton, a city she finds irredeemably unromantic, where she writes university term papers instead of novels, and sells shoes in the Largest Mall on Earth. There she seeks the other half of her young life's own matched pair. Delightfully whimsical, Heidi L.M. Jacobs’ Molly of the Mall: Literary Lass and Purveyor of Fine Footwear explores its namesake's love for the written word, love for the wrong men (and the right one), and her complicated love for her city.
Book Club Questions:
1. The city of Edmonton can be seen as something more than just the setting of this book. Discuss what this city and the discussion of it adds to the book as a whole.
2. Jane Austen was incredibly important to Molly and had a huge influence on her life. Can you relate to Molly’s connection with Jane Austen? Have there been writers or books that were or are important to you and your life?
3. Throughout this book, Molly tries out various writerly personas and styles. Do you think Molly will go on to write a novel? If so, what kind of novel do you think she will write?
4. This book has a Spotify playlist to accompany it. What do you think music adds to this novel in terms of plot, character, and/ or mood?
5. The author of Molly of the Mall has said, “this book would have been very different had it been set after the arrival of smartphones.” What would have been different if it had been set today instead of 1995/1996?
6. As much as Molly dreams of leaving Edmonton, she still says “the thought of leaving seems incomprehensible.” Why does she say that? Why is she both desperate to leave and nervous to go? Have you ever felt that way?
7. At its core, this is a book about learning and education. Molly learns something important from almost every character in the book—both real and literary. Who do you think was most influential on Molly and why?
8. Half of this book is set at a university and half at a shopping mall. What do these two settings add to the book? How are they different? How are they similar? What do each add?
9. Where do you think Molly will be ten years after the end of the book? What is she doing? Who is she with? What kinds of shoes will she be wearing?
10. If you were making Molly into a movie, who would you cast as Molly? As Mark? As Maureen? As Hamish? As Professor Byron Keats? What character would you most like to play?
11. Because these questions should “go to eleven,” let’s finish with the exam question Molly always prepared for but was never asked: “Would you date Wickham if you stopped reading Pride and Prejudice at the end of Chapter 24?”
"Heidi L.M. Jacobs nails it. Molly of the Mall relentlessly, hilariously conveys the ennui felt by anyone who has ever read a book and then gone to the mall, just as it captures the malaise and pretension of every undergraduate English course ever. A rollicking literary romance set in the icy moonscape of 1990s Edmonton, Molly is wicked good fun."
"Heidi L.M. Jacobs has created a delightfully whimsical protagonist in Molly. Always informed by the characters from literature she loves, she approaches life in her own unique, and fanciful, way. Such fun to follow the retail nightmares and romantic comedy mishaps of this Austenian heroine of mid-90s Edmonton."
"I loved this novel." full review
"[A] charming debut..." full review