Book Club



The Shyster's Daughter


Paula Priamos's writing has been featured in various magazines and in the anthology Naming the World: And Other Exercises for the Creative Writer. She teaches at California State University and lives in Southern California with her husband and stepsons. The Shyster's Daughter is her first book.


The Shyster's Daughter is a detective memoir of a Greek family living in Southern California in the late 1900s. "This look back at a family divided by divorce, geography, and grief crackles with tension, but also locates humor in their excesses and drama. The narrative is flecked with several gathered quotes from family, clients, and others under the heading, "What They Told Me After He Died," and the quotes are as dark and funny as the story itself...meeting the author's family is an illuminating and sometimes disturbing journey the reader won't forget." - Foreword Magazine


1. Much of the adversity faced by Paula Priamos in this memoir is brought on by the criminal behavior of her father and uncle. Family life in the Priamos household, both before and after her parent's divorce, is very difficult and yet life goes on. Have you had to overcome difficult people and events in your own family?

2. Priamos has indicated in an interview that she wrote this book because she was haunted by the last phone call from her father. The last contact one has with a person who dies is often meaningful though sometimes very ordinary. Have you had last conversations with loved ones or friends that were particularly memorable?

3. Priamos takes great pride in having stood by her father through his divorce. How do you feel about her commitment? Did her father deserve her loyalty?

4. Do you think the author's experiences in her family affected her choices in starting her own family? Did you follow in your family's footsteps or have you tried to do things in a different way?

5. Paula mentions her Greek background but indicates also that her heritage is mixed. Are the members of your family from one background or is there a mixture of nationalities? Has the mixing of these backgrounds had any effect on your family life? Do you personally feel the influence of one part of your heritage as being in conflict or perhaps nicely augmenting the other?

This reading group guide is provided by Small Press Distribution to Engage as You Age as part of the "I Remember Project" to support reading groups for seniors in Marin Country. SPD's "I Remember Project" is generously supported by the Marin Community Foundation.

Marin Community Foundation
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