Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
Are the characters or their circumstances familiar to you? Does Kate as a
child narrator sound the age she should be? Does her voice set in a particular
place or time ring true?
What style is Cover The Butter written in?
First person, third person or both? Is the story told from one point of view
What do the characters do?
Do you find their actions troubling? Are their actions consistent with their
What is Cover The Butter about?
Does the book have a central theme? If so what? Does it have many themes? If
so, how do they interlink? Is one theme more dominant than others?
Where does everything take place?
Do the changing locations and environment in Cover The Butter color the
telling of the story or are they merely a backdrop?
What do you know about the author? Did you scan the reviews before reading
Cover The Butter?
Do you think the book jacket synopsis and jacket image do a good job of
indicating the type of book it is? (Or not!) What alternate titles would be
suitable for this book?
How did the book affect you?
Do you feel 'changed' in anyway? Did it expand your range of experience or
challenge your assumptions (for example did it take you to a place you haven't
been before or help you see a place you know in a different light.) Did
reading it help you to understand a person betterperhaps a friend or
relative, or even yourself?
In a movie version, who would play what parts?
Would you consider Kate's mother to be technically abusive? What about
Why do you think Biddy favored Kate's cousin Josie?
Biddy had a powerful hold over her daughter well into adulthood. Why do
you think Kate put up with it?
Are you familiar with the time period in which Kate's teenage years take
place or did you learn something about them? Would the story have been
different if it took place today?
What are the real issues in Biddy's and Tom's marriage?
Was Kate's upbringing partly or entirely responsible for her choice of
Rodney as a husband?
Why do you think Kate stayed with Rodney for so long?
What sort of family produces a man like Rodney?
Have you known a Biddy or Rodney? What other fictional characters do
Kate, Biddy and Rodney remind you of?
Could ANY sort of sensitivity training benefit Rodney or is he a
How would Kate's life have been different if her grandparents, her aunt,
and her friends Ingrid and Moira hadn't been so kind and supportive?
Were Kate's friends as bad an influence as Biddy believed?
Did certain parts of the book make you uncomfortable? If so, why did you
feel this way?
If you had a friend who made terrible romantic choices, would you make any attempt to advise her, or keep it to yourself?
There is much recurring imagery in Cover The Butter. Can you explain the
symbolic meaning of the butter dish, the spiral staircase and the Fry's
Do you think Kate's sense of humor saved her sanity at times? What parts
of the story did you find humorous?
Was there an event in the story that you had strong feelings about?
Do you believe it was right for Kate to end her relationship with her
Is there a moral message behind Cover The Butter? What lessons do you
think readers could take from Kate Cadogan's story?
Use your imagination on these questions. In his (fictional) future, will
Rodney remarry? What sort of woman will he potentially find on the second
go-round? Does he really prefer women to men, sexually speaking? Will he have
a good, bad, or indifferent relationship with his son as he matures?
And about Kate: Do you foresee a lasting relationship between Kate and
Erik? How will she get on in France? Will she hear from her parents ever
Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of NAL.
Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.
A Man Called Intrepid author dies aged 89(Dec 03 2013) William Stevenson, a journalist and author who drew on his close ties with intelligence sources to write two best-selling books in the 1970s, A Man Called...