Nobody could have predicted that Lucy Crocker, former children's librarian and unabashed computer ignoramus, would be the one to save the family's software company. Nevertheless, that's exactly what happens when she unexpectedly brainstorms a fantasy computer game called Maiden's Quest. Suddenly, Lucy's a cyber-guru. But now trouble is brewing in the Crocker family. Lucy is having trouble producing the Maiden's Quest sequel. Then she discovers that her husband is receiving erotic messages from their publicity director, and the kids are ogling smut on the Internet. Lucy decides that it's time to escape the modern world and flee into the wilderness, with unexpected and hilarious results.
Preston's wit, insight, and light touch are on full display in this novel about the comic and not so comic effects of technology on life and love.
|Product dimensions:||5.34(w) x 8.08(h) x 0.74(d)|
Read an Excerpt
Chapter 1: Gossip Net
Maiden's Quest priestess, Lucy Crocker, was nowhere to be seen at the latest P.C. gamer convention at the Monterey Hyatt. Her husband, Ed Crocker, prez of Crocker Software, was there handing out Maiden's Quest II T-shirts and mugs. Where's Lucy? we asked. Back at home putting the finishing touches on Maiden's Quest II, said Ed. And when will the sequel to the world's most popular fantasy game be released? By Christmas, saith Ed Crocker. Every good little MQ I fanatic better write Saint Nick right now to make sure a pentagon-shaped package is waiting under the Christmas tree. Ed says anyone who can't wait until then can visit the Maiden's Quest II web page at www.Crocker.com.
Copyright © 2000 by Caroline Preston
Reading Group Guide
1. One of the delightful incongruities of Lucy Crocker 2.0 is that Lucy, a near computer illiterate who has little use for the technology, finds herself the proud creator of the world's most popular computer fantasy game. Another is that this former children's librarian has raised two teenage sons who consider books printed on paper irrelevant to their lives. Talk about the ways in which author Caroline Preston makes use of irony in the novel. Are they effective?
2. In computer terminology, "version 2.0" of a program is the first major revision to a product, where old mistakes are fixed and new features added. What is the significance of the title Lucy Crocker 2.0?
3. Lucy neither likes nor understands the cyberworld she is living and raising her family in. Do you share Lucy's ambivalence toward technology? Would it be possible to retreat to a computer-free life such as Little Lost Lake? Would you want to?
4. The story is told from three different points of view -- Lucy's, Ed's, and Phil's -- in alternating chapters. Did you find this form effective? Whose voice did you find the most convincing? The least?
5. Discuss the gulf between the dreams Lucy once had for her future and her present-day reality. Do you think she has sold out? Does she think so? By holding on to her dreams and her yearning for what might have been, is she being disloyal to Ed and her sons?
6. Looking at a brochure from the wilderness survival camp from her childhood, Lucy realizes that the teenage girl on the front cover reminds her of herself at that age, when "she didn't know yet that she had no control over the fateful turns of her life." Do you agree or disagree with Lucy that shehas had no control over the turns her life has taken? What choices did she make? Why do you think that some people prefer to think that fate controls their lives, while others prefer to think their own choices can control fate? Where does the truth lie?
7. In the beginning of the novel, Lucy and Ed have been emotionally estranged for a long while, but Lucy decides to take action only when she discovers Ingrid's incriminating e-mail. Do you think most women find sexual infidelity harder to forgive than other kinds of marital betrayal? Does Ed's dalliance with Ingrid justify Lucy rekindling the relationship with her old boyfriend, Sam? At the end of the novel, Ed and Lucy are reunited, but can their marriage really survive their infidelities?
8. "They give up reading, they give up talking to other human beings, they give up going into nature. Their minds are completely controlled by a little beige box. It's a conspiracy," charges Lucy's lover, Sam, as he rails against the computer and its pernicious effects on our youth. Author Caroline Preston clearly portrays Sam as a radical with extreme views. But does she expect the reader to give any credence to his charge? What point is she making about how computers affect kids today? What is your own view?
9. Discuss the important role played by Lucy's friend Rosemary, "the truth-teller in her life." Do you have someone in your life whom you can count on to always tell you the truth -- even when it is unpleasant and something you may not want to hear? Are you a truth-teller in these situations? When, if ever, do you think a friend should avoid the truth and sugarcoat reality?
10. Discuss the ways in which Lucy and Ed's dizygotic twins, Phil and Benjy, are alike and dissimilar. Contrast their different reactions to Lucy's firing. How does the balance of power between them shift at Camp Kinahwee? After they run away from camp and manage to survive, what changes take place in the way they relate to each other? To their parents?
11. At the end of the novel, Lucy writes in the guide to Maiden's Quest II that, "a clever computer game is like life itself, filled with wrong turns, tricky puzzles, messages written in code, and people who are not always what they seem." During the novel each of the main characters goes on a quest into the wilderness. What are these quests and how are the characters changed by them? Does real life ever resemble a quest?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book is a light and fun novel of a semi-dysfunctional family in today's computerized world. You'll see friends, neighbors, and family members in the characters. Lucy's best friend is someone everyone should have as a friend - a straightforward, shoot-from-the-hip person who really tells it like it is. And you don't have to know computers to like this book - in fact, you'll relate a lot better to Lucy if you're not computer literate! I couldn't put this book down, and highly recommend it.
I finished this book in a day and my only regret was I hated to say goodby. Lucy and the rest of the characters were smart, funny, and totally enjoyable. This book focuses on modern life and all its frailties.