The following are book club questions we’ll use to kickstart discussions for each of the books we’re talking up in upcoming book club meetups!

The Silent Patient (July 16, 2019):

  • Who do you think is to blame for Gabriel’s death?
  • When did you figure out the twist, and what were the clues that led you there?
  • Much of this story takes place inside a psychiatric hospital. How did this setting impact your perception of the characters—both inside and outside The Grove—and what effect did it have on the atmosphere of the book?
  • This book plays with the idea of trustworthiness, with characters seeming reliable one moment and unreliable the next. What were the elements that made you trust certain characters or not?
  • What is the meaning of the Alcestis? Why do you think the author included this reference to Greek mythology, and what does it add to your experience of the story?
  • How did you feel about the dynamic between Theo and Alicia and between Theo and Ruth as therapist and patient? What lines should or shouldn’t be crossed in these relationship? What power dynamics are at play here?
  • How did you feel about Theo and Kathy’s marriage? What are your thoughts on how their relationship is resolved?
  • This book includes many different types of communication: conversation, diary entries, art, and even silence. How are each of these used to progress the story line and character development? Which did you find to be the most effective or powerful?
  • Were you satisfied with the ending? What do you think the future holds for Theo and Alicia?

The Glovemaker (July 23, 2019):

  • The story has two narrators.  Is this Deborah’s story?  Or Nels’? Or is this a story about a community?
  • Nels, Deborah, and Samuel came to Junction to separate themselves from their former lives.  Does Junction give them the fresh start they desire?  How do they fight the forces that attempt to pull them back to the past?  Or do they?
  • Deborah, Samuel, and Nels were raised in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) but as adults they are not devout.  They do not believe in polygamy, yet they help LDS men who are accused of committing this felony.  What would you do if you found yourself in a similar legal and moral situation?  Could you turn your back on one of your own?  Or would you help even though it means breaking the law?
  • Samuel was eleven when he was baptized into the church.  How is his perspective about the church different from Deborah’s and Nels’?
  • Deborah and Nels constantly bend the truth to protect themselves, each other, and their community.  When does bending the truth first begin?  What is the chain of events that follow?
  • Nels and Braden make a critical decision about the marshal’s fate.  What is the chain of events that follow that decision?
  • How does Samuel’s disappearance impact Deborah’s decisions about the marshal?
  • What is the importance of Mountain Meadows to the novel?
  • The marshal’s desire to capture Braden leads him to break the law.  Is his motive a good excuse?  Or should he have abided by the law?  What would you do if you were in a similar situation?
  • What is the turning point(s) in Deborah’s feelings about the marshal?
  • What were some truths that Deborah and Nels are eventually forced to face?
  • Are there any historical events in The Glovemaker that are new for you?  Surprising?
  • What do you think happens next to the characters?

The Summer I Met Jack (July 25, 2019)

  • Jewelry plays a symbolic role in The Summer I Met Jack: Alicia’s father’s watch, the necklace Jack gives her, and her engagement ring. What do each of these things represent to Alicia, both individually and taken as a whole?
  • From the beginning, Alicia has a taste for fine clothes and especially fur, even when she can’t afford to dress herself this way. Why? Do you think this speaks more to her early, privileged years, or what she lacked while in the convent and at the camp? Or are her predilections more aspirational in nature? Her vision of “The American Dream”?
  • What might’ve happened to Alicia if she wasn’t so prone to “moving on”? Imagine Alicia in 1970, at age forty. Imagine her in 1985, at fifty-five. How would these versions of Alicia look if she stayed in Hyannis? What about if she stayed in Hollywood?
  • Who did Alicia love most in her lifetime? Jack? Her father? Someone else?
  • Although The Summer I Met Jack is a novel, it is rooted in fact. Did this book at all change your opinion about the Kennedys?
  • Knowing that Jack did have a relationship with Alicia 1951, and, according to the FBI, she was a continued threat ten years later, do you think the author portrayed a realistic version of the significance of their relationship?
  • How might history have been different if Jack had married Alicia? Do you think he would still have been elected President?
  • If Irenka had not told the Kennedys that Alica was a Jew, do you think they would have discovered it on their own? What motivated Irenka to hurt Alicia?
  • Do you believe that Jacqueline Kennedy knew about Alicia and her husband? What about his other mistresses?
  • If Joe Jr. had survived, would he have become President instead of Jack? What would Jack have done for a living?
  • Did Alicia really have Jack Kennedy’s child, or do you think the child truly belonged to Novella?