Rush: A Novel 

Discussion
Spoiler Alert!

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October, where did you go?! Seriously guys, this month flew by! But the good news is we finally get to discuss Rush by Lisa Patton and I could not be any more excited! I have LOVED this book since I read it last year and I hope you enjoyed each and every page. 

I feel like there is so much to unpack in this book and I can’t wait to hear your thoughts in the comments section. Don’t forget–every month we pick one commenter to win a copy of next month’s book so don’t be shy! 

Let’s get this discussion going! My answers are in the comments below.

xo-

Ashley Brooke, Editor-in-Chief

OK y'all, let's talk books! Head down to the comments to answer our discussion questions and tell us what you thought of this month's selection. Remember, this book club is here to be fun and thoughtful so be sure your comments are kind and respectful of others.
Betsy Storey, Co-Editor at the Ashley Brooke Book Club
Betsy Storey
Co-Editor & Discussion Moderator

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Let's Discuss!

1. If you were in a sorority did you feel this book captured your experience and if not, did this change your perception of greek life?

2. Cali is such a role model in this book. Have you ever had your own Cali moment or known someone like her? 
 
3. In this book there are lots of themes of grace, redemption, and reconciliation. What was your biggest take away from this book?
 

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19 Comments

  1. October 29, 2019 / 6:00 am

    1. If you were in a sorority did you feel this book captured your experience and if not, did this change your perception of greek life?

    I wasn’t in a sorority, but honestly think I would have loved being a part of one. My mom is still close with her sorority sisters and I have loved seeing their friendship stand the test of time.

    This didn’t change my perspective of greek life because I don’t think it’s a greek specific problem, but it did provide some great context to a larger issue. I loved how brave Cali was and how she fought for what was right. I think we all have lessons we can take away from this book.

    2. Cali is such a role model in this book. Have you ever had your own Cali moment or known someone like her?

    I want a team Cali shirt. One of my best friends, Jillian, is the Cali in my life. She has a son with special needs and she’s actively fighting daily for the rights of those in her community. It’s brave, it’s bold, and it’s courageous. And she is making change.

    3. In this book there are lots of themes of grace, redemption, and reconciliation. What was your biggest take away from this book?

    Oh my gosh, this book recked me more times than once. I wanted to be in the same room as Ms. Pearl, what an amazing woman. Her grace and sheer strength and resiliency made her such a beautiful character. There is power in loving people, and loving people well.

  2. Jennifer
    October 29, 2019 / 7:25 am

    1. This book totally changed my perception of Greek life. Albeit I was not in a sorority but I know many people who were and their experiences were not remotely close to this. I’m surprised that some of these things can slide. I do believe that there are amazing house mothers and amazing staff that tend to each girls needs. And with that comes other women who are used to being waited on hand and foot with very little appreciation. It was nice to see both sides come together for the greater good at the end of this book though.

    2. I can’t say I’ve truly been a Cali – but I have seen others like her. Whether it be advocating for a cause (I myself have stood up for Juvenile Diabetes since I have it) or watched my friends protest or promote a cause – it is truly inspiring. This charitable, philanthropic work is what I believe the world needs more of. And it all starts with a simple idea – such as Cali had.

    3. My biggest take away was that people come from all walks of life – but that doesn’t mean one or the other is better off. Each person goes through trials and tribulations, the good and the bad – and it’s the theme of grace to me that shows how each deals with it. I think that another take away for me, as I mentioned earlier is that each person can help be the cause of a great change with a simple idea. Look at what Cali and her roommate started. A mere suggestion and it not only involved the entire Alpha Delt sorority, but the parents and further on – the news station. I think that this showed that a lot of people didn’t know what was going on behind closed doors in terms of benefits and how a lot of people wanted to help out when and if they could.

    • Betsy Storey
      October 29, 2019 / 12:53 pm

      Don’t you love how books can re-shape things you thought you knew–that’s what I loved about this book!

    • October 30, 2019 / 9:40 am

      Jennifer! Loved your answers! Thank you for reading along! Also, got a kick out of your answer to #1. AGREED.

  3. Stacey
    October 29, 2019 / 7:25 am

    1. If you were in a sorority did you feel this book captured your experience and if not, did this change your perception of greek life?
    Oh my goodness I was never in a sorority. I did online school. I never knew so much went into the Greek life. I thought it was like a sport you try out and get accepted lol

    2. Cali is such a role model in this book. Have you ever had your own Cali moment or known someone like her?

    I have never been a Cali really. I’ve always been one to be walked over. I do have a brave husband and we are raising 3 strong daughters. We teach them to stand up for what is right. My oldest has became an ambassador at her school to help select like minded people into an early college that could benefit from someone having their back. I hope I have 3 Cali’s in my house

    3. In this book there are lots of themes of grace, redemption, and reconciliation. What was your biggest take away from this book?
    In my current life there is a lot of past issues that have risen. My take away is the person can change. Even if the person didn’t realize what they were doing at the time would have negative impact on the future. Redemption and forgiveness really spoke to me.

    • October 30, 2019 / 9:40 am

      Stacey, Love your answer to #3, totally agree! Change is real, and beautiful!

  4. Rachel Shank
    October 29, 2019 / 10:09 am

    1. I was not in a sorority, so I can’t speak on that experience. But this book did give some positive perspectives for Greek life. It wasn’t for me because of its history of exclusion and even the way it still excludes individuals. This book gave perspective to breaking the molds and being accepted anyway. It was nice to have these foils in the story to show “the way things are” and “the way things could be” coming together.

    2. Cali reminds me of the quote about speaking up, even if your voice shakes and your legs wobble. She’s inspiring to me. I can’t say that I’m like her, but I’ve certainly known people with Cali moments.

    3. I initially found myself really frustrated with the “white savior” themes found in this book. I so badly wanted the African Americans in the story to get to be the main heroes instead of the sorority girls. With time removed from reading the book, I now feel more social responsibility to speak up for others around me.

    • Betsy Storey
      October 29, 2019 / 12:57 pm

      Rachel, thank you so much for your thoughtful responses! I wondered if your answer to number 3 would come up in our discussion. I think that’s a valid commentary. I also think that for better or worse the sorority girls were coming from a place of privilege and that afforded them to opportunity to try and make changes. Pearl is definitely the hero of this story for me in the ways she served others and poured in to the lives of these girls over time.

      • October 30, 2019 / 9:43 am

        Yes! Thank you Rachel and Betsy, love having a thoughtful dialogue about such an important topic.

        Thank you for reading along!

        xo – Ashley Brooke

  5. Betsy Storey
    October 29, 2019 / 1:06 pm

    1. Having had some experience in the greek system I don’t have a lot of negative misconceptions about it but I think that like most things in life the greek system is full of the good and the bad. This didn’t really change my perspective on the issue so much as it broadened it think about the other people we meet in this novel–the housekeeper, the mothers, the cooks. People we don’t often think about when looking at sororities and fraternities.

    2. I haven’t had a large scale Cali moment but I think for most of us, we face small choices everyday where we get to decide to do the right thing or put someone else first and that is really powerful.

    3. The moment between Lilith and Pearl at the end of the book is so powerful to me. I wish more African Americans in this country could experience that type of reconciliation with their white neighbors.

    • October 30, 2019 / 9:43 am

      As Lesa would say… it’s never wrong to do the right thing! 😉 xx – AB

  6. Katherine McLean
    October 29, 2019 / 5:20 pm

    1. If you were in a sorority did you feel this book captured your experience and if not, did this change your perception of greek life?
    As an Ole Miss sorority member, it felt scary how accurate the description was. Lisa completely captured what it was like to be in a Southern sorority.

    2. Cali is such a role model in this book. Have you ever had your own Cali moment or known someone like her?
    Not that I can think of, but WOW this book inspired me to stand up for my beliefs more!

    3. In this book there are lots of themes of grace, redemption, and reconciliation. What was your biggest take away from this book?
    I think just how much anyone can make a difference, and how important it is to use one’s position to influence people to do what is right.

    • October 30, 2019 / 9:45 am

      Katherine!

      I love that you have real life Ole Miss experience, and it’s crazy how spot on it was.

      Everyone has INFLUENCE to do the right thing. YES.

      xx – AB

  7. October 29, 2019 / 6:35 pm

    1. If you were in a sorority did you feel this book captured your experience and if not, did this change your perception of greek life?
    I was not in a sorority, so I cannot speak to that experience, and in fact I was very curios because I don’t know much about them at all! I live in the Northeast, and we have them here, but it doesn’t seem to be the same experience as at southern universities. I would say it changed my perception, because I did not know much about the day to day life at all, for example that there even is a role of “House mother.” So I liked the mix of seeing the Rush experience, as well as the behind the scenes of the workers. I also liked the sense of the relationships, between the girls, and the girls and the workers in the house. I liked how it was very positive and how everyone was welcoming and kind. I think immediately of Sarah, but all of the girls in the house were kind to the pledges and welcoming, and it was truly a sisterhood. It made me wish that I had been in a sorority! I liked that we saw that was much more to it than parties, and pretty clothes, but a community of caring people who are interested in using their privilege to help others.

    2. Cali is such a role model in this book. Have you ever had your own Cali moment or known someone like her?
    I actually caught myself wishing that I was more like Cali while I read! Cali was able to open up, make friends, become more comfortable with herself, but also influence others. I remember thinking that all of those are impressive, especially at her age! I loved seeing her become more confident and able to embrace her new role in the sisterhood and but also be a front runner to advance positive change and not be afraid to share her views. I loved her relationship with Miss Pearl, and how they were able to connect so quickly. There are many qualities of Cali’s that I wish I had more of every day. It reminded me of when you see kids on the news who are able to start amazing fundraisers, or impactful change of this magnitude.

    3. In this book there are lots of themes of grace, redemption, and reconciliation. What was your biggest take away from this book?
    Oh my gosh, all of the above were my take aways! I loved seeing I guess the parallels in unlikely characters. For example, for the theme of grace/redemption, the characters I think of are Miss Pearl and Lillith. Miss Pearl needed grace for herself, for how she carried the weight of giving her daughter up for adoption. That redemption/grace came in the unlikely form of Lillith, who assures her that what she did not was not only unselfish, but a strong and selfless thing to do. Lillith then needs redemption from Miss Pearl, and is able to begin to break her family’s cycle of generational racism. Seeing that happen with Annie Laurie and Lillith was powerful. At first I doubted Lillith, and even though she did originally have an ulterior motive, she ultimately realized that she needed to change and was able to reconcile with Miss Pearl and herself. One of my favorite characters though was Wilda. How she had to come to terms with herself, and realize what she needed to repair in her own life and what really matters. In the end she was brave, and an amazing role model to for her daughter.

    • October 30, 2019 / 9:46 am

      Lindsay! Thank you so much for such a thoughtful discussion, loved reading through your answers. Also, I’m right there with you. I think we all wish we were more like Cali!!

      xo – Ashley Brooke

  8. October 30, 2019 / 9:43 am

    1. I was in a sorority and this was very, very accurate. While I do not regret being a member of a sorority, I do find myself realizing how silly a lot of it was. I think it can be a good opportunity for people to be a part of a group that has goals and aspirations, especially at such a pivotal point in your life. I also think Greek Life tends to bring out the worst in people. This just reiterated how Greek Life can be both wonderful and awful at the same time. The level of entitlement definitely came through and that was very indicative of my experience.
    2. I thought Cali was a role model but also had some growing. Part of growing up is learning to accept your past and while I sympathize I don’t think she should’ve lied. That didn’t take away from her strength to stand up for herself and what was right.
    3. I thought this book was a little quick with the redemption but it’s a book and that’s the point. I don’t believe people change overnight. I loved the amount of grace in the book though.

    • October 30, 2019 / 9:55 am

      Bailey!

      Thank you so much for reading along. And I agree with you, real change takes time and it’s not an overnight thing. But I loved seeing the way the characters changed in this book… even if it was accelerated for the sake of pages! xx – Ashley Brooke

  9. Brittney
    October 31, 2019 / 4:42 pm

    First, I have to say I’m glad y’all picked this book! I read it last fall and was so happy to re-read it. This time I listened on Audible and it was fantastic. Highly recommend. I only wish I had a paperback copy to read the epilogue.

    1. If you were in a sorority did you feel this book captured your experience and if not, did this change your perception of greek life?

    I was in a Christian sorority at a large ACC school and loved it! We didn’t have a house at the time and we did a separate recruitment process from the rest of Panhellenic, so my experience wasn’t similar to the book in that way. But I did make a lot of wonderful girlfriends that I’m still close with 10 years post-graduation.

    2. Cali is such a role model in this book. Have you ever had your own Cali moment or known someone like her?

    I’d love to be more like Cali. I feel like I could be if the right situation presented itself. 🙂

    3. In this book there are lots of themes of grace, redemption, and reconciliation. What was your biggest take away from this book?

    I’m with Ashley — I kept wishing I had Miss Pearl in my life. She was a breath of fresh air, full of grace and her patience was inspiring. I also loved the theme of redemption in Annie Laurie and Lilith’s storylines.

    • November 6, 2019 / 10:35 am

      Brittney! I’m so glad you loved this book as much as we did. It really is such a special one. xx

About ABBC

The Ashley Brooke Book Club is here to inspire fun and thoughtful conversations about what we are reading, highlight women storytellers, and cross another great read off your ‘to be read’ list. We’re here for books that make you feel like you’ve had a night out with your girlfriends without ever leaving your couch!

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