Reading guide for Lowboy by John Wray

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Lowboy

by John Wray

Lowboy by John Wray X
Lowboy by John Wray
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Mar 2009, 272 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 2010, 272 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Derek Brown
Buy This Book

About this Book

Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!

  1. How does the author demonstrate in writing what Will is going through, what the world looks and feels like to him? How does the tone and style in Will’s sections differ from the sections that follow Lateef or Violet?

  2. How much responsibility do you think Violet bears for what happens to her son? How much of his behavior is genetically driven, and how much is a result of Violet’s influence and the circumstances of his upbringing?

  3. Look at the scene in the cupcake shop on pages 130-133. What goes wrong in Will’s communication with the girl behind the counter that sets him off? What are some of the triggers throughout the story that cause Will to lose touch with the world as others see it?

  4. How did your thoughts about Violet change over the course of the novel? What clues did the author give that she might not be what she seemed? Have you ever known someone who concealed a mental illness from the people in his or her life?

  5. What attracts Will to the subway?

  6. What were your impressions of Dr. Kopeck? Do you think he has Will’s best interests at heart? What are some of the challenges that might arise in treating a patient like Will?

  7. On page 157 we learn that Lateef “hadn’t been able to make up his mind to catch [Will and Emily]. He still couldn’t make up his mind?” What’s holding him back? What’s particularly difficult about this case for him? Do you see any connection between the relationship between Will and Violet and Lateef’s own upbringing?

  8. What kind of portrait does the novel give of New York City? Do you think the city itself has a strong influence on the deterioration of Will’s mind?

  9. What draws Emily to Will? Why does she agree to see him—and travel with him over the course of the day—despite his earlier behavior?

  10. How do you interpret Will’s markings in the magazine Violet finds in his room? Why do you think he connects sex to the idea of global warming and saving the world? Does any of this trace back to his life with Violet or his time in the hospital?

  11. Will’s illness often prevents him from seeing essential things about the world around him, but he also has sensitivities that other people lack. Do you see signs that Will is gifted, as well as disturbed? What elements of the world does he pick up on that others are likely to miss?

  12. What do you think happened to Will in the hospital? Does the account of his time there line up with your understanding of how patients are treated in mental hospitals? How well do you think our health care system provides for people with mental illness?


Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Picador. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Inland
    Inland
    by Téa Obreht
    It's 1893 and the sparsely populated settlement of Amargo, deep in the Arizona Territory, is ...
  • Book Jacket
    La Belle Sauvage
    by Philip Pullman
    Voted 2017 Best Young Adult Novel by BookBrowse's Subscribers

    I wasn't quite sure what to expect ...
  • Book Jacket: Conviction
    Conviction
    by Denise Mina
    Scottish author Denise Mina's latest novel, Conviction, is a fast-paced thriller narrated by Anna, a...
  • Book Jacket
    Dread Nation
    by Justina Ireland
    The war between the states is over and, instead, a very different battle is being waged for the ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Ellie and the Harpmaker
    by Hazel Prior

    A rich, heartwarming and charming debut novel about finding love in unexpected places.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club
Book Jacket
The Overstory
by Richard Powers

"Monumental… A gigantic fable of genuine truths."—Barbara Kingsolver, The New York Times Book Review

About the book
Join the discussion!
Book Club Giveaway!
Win Crudo

Crudo by Olivia Laing

A brilliant, funny, and emphatically raw novel of love on the brink of the apocalypse.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

S A A B In A R

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.