The First Lady of Dos Cacahuates - Discussion Guide

Discussion Guide

  1. This novel features three types of Jewish women, as portrayed by Frieda, Minnie and Lollie. Discuss the differences between these characters. 
  2. What does the author hope to achieve by depicting their relationships with each other and with other characters? 
  3. Frieda and Bennie are strongly attracted to one another, but in upbringing, habitations, interests, and aims they're radically dissimilar. Will they be able to bridge their differences? If so, at what cost? 
  4. How would this town-building story differ if told from Bennie's point of view? 
  5. What will become of the traditional Jewish practices engrained in Frieda in her family's kosher boardinghouse? What kind of communal life will evolve in her new home? 
  6. Frieda sorely misses her urban San Francisco. What does she gain by pioneering in an outpost with settlers of diverse cultures and objectives? 
  7. How did you react to the Passover Seder as celebrated in Dos Cacahuates? Minnie and Mendel's courtship? The scene between Frieda and Lollie at the pond? 
  8. Did the relationship between Mexicans, Native Americans, and the newcomers along the border strike you as realistic? 
  9. Did you see this novel as an extension of or a departure from traditional fiction set in the early West? If so, how?  
  10. Did this novel alter your views of Jewish women and women in general in the early West ? If so, how?