Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
The first chapter of the book focused on the statue and who
should rightfully inherit it. How did this chapter affect your
impressions of the book? Did the statue play the role you thought it
What year would you place the story? Is it modern day or some
other time in the past/future?
The author uses the statue to introduce the issue of race and
family relations. Was this effectively played out?
The boys kept finding
similarities in their "sister" Kenya when the fact was she wasn't
related at all. Even Doyle was noticing the physical
similarities .were they seeing it because of suggestion?
The book shows us a family that is dysfunctional and secretive.
It also appears they are cut off from Bernadette's and Father
Sullivan's other siblings, presumably due to the statue. Does this
family reflect your vision of family?
Father Sullivan played a pivotal role in deciding the statues
owner and dividing the family. Did he continue to play a significant
role in the book? What would the book have looked like without him?
How did the younger Sullivan's revelation of his past to
"Tennessee Williams Moser" impact the story?
What is the author's underlying message here? Is she presenting
a new definition of family, a commentary on socioeconomics or
something totally different?
The book closes with Kenya running. Does this ending meet your
Are you satisfied with how the author tied up the issues of
race, family, parental responsibilities? What would you want changed
or delved in to with greater depth?
Now that the book has ended, what do you think will happen to
the characters next?
Discussion questions compiled by the Pierce County Book Club of
Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Harper Perennial.
Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.
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