DEVILS IN THE SUGAR SHOP

Timothy Schaffert

 Devils in the Sugar Shop is the story of a group of women friends in Omaha who are struggling with various romantic troubles and who are all about to convene for a pre-Valentine’s Tupperware-like home party for “marital aids.” The evening, meant to be a lark, changes how they each view their lives and relationships—and not just their romances but also their friendships and relationships with their children. With his characteristic touch, Schaffert places an unusual cast in unusual circumstances and creates a comic tale that is similar to Tales of the City, or even a cross between “Sex and the City”

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 Devils in the Sugar Shop is the story of a group of women friends in Omaha who are struggling with various romantic troubles and who are all about to convene for a pre-Valentine’s Tupperware-like home party for “marital aids.” The evening, meant to be a lark, changes how they each view their lives and relationships—and not just their romances but also their friendships and relationships with their children. With his characteristic touch, Schaffert places an unusual cast in unusual circumstances and creates a comic tale that is similar to Tales of the City, or even a cross between “Sex and the City” and “Desperate Housewives”—and yet vintage Schaffert.

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  • Unbridled Books
  • Paperback
  • May 2007
  • 256 Pages
  • 9781932961331

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$14.95

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About Timothy Schaffert

Timothy Schaffert is the award-winning author of two previous novels: The Phantom Limbs of the Rollow Sisters and The Singing and Dancing Daughters of God. He lives in Nebraska, where he is the director of the (Downtown) Omaha Lit Fest and a contributing editor for the Prairie Schooner literary journal.

Praise

“Like an expensive box of chocolates: each silken morsel is luscious and approvingly decadent, and with every bite you don’t necessarily know what you’re going to get.” —Library Journal, starred review

“[C]an a novel still be called chick lit if (a) it’s written by a guy and (b) most of the chicks in question are in their late 30’s to early 40’s and not especially interested in shoes? When the characters spend as much time as these do searching for love, sipping cocktails and seeking comfort in one another’s company, the answer is yes.” —The New York Times Book Review

Discussion Questions

Is there an overall message in Devils in the Sugar Shop? If so, what is it?

Are some parts of the book funny and zany? Which passages are amusing?

Which parts are both humorous and sad? Why?

What needs are driving the affair between Peach and Troy?

Who bears the primary fault for the adulterous relationship? Is it Zeke’s responsibility because he has broken his marital vows to Ashley and thus only he is accountable to her? Or is Peach a “home wrecker”?

What is going on emotionally between Viv and Zeke? What is motivating their kissing sessions?

What could be some of the possible causes for Mrs. Bloom’s mental breakdown? In a way, does Viv save Mrs. Bloom’s life? What would have happened had Viv not intervened?

Why is there a rivalry between Peach and Plum? Do they seem closer by the end of the novel? Why or why not?

Is Ashley homophobic? What evidence is there for or against that possibility?

What sentiments feed the relationship between Viv, Ashley, and Deedee?

Do you agree or disagree with Deedee’s idea that “. . . it was impossible to be hip in a youth culture so booby trapped.”

What do the drag queens symbolize? What is their role in the story?

How would you characterize or define Schaffert’s overall style of writing?

In which passages does he use clever titles or names, real and invented, that seem add to the book’s wittiness?

What is resolved in the end? What isn’t?