Reading Guide Questions
Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
- The concept of "home" appears often in this story - the home that Tommy builds, Wing being in foreign territory, and Addie being uncertain "whether folks came to Wyoming Territory to live or to die." How do you think "home" evolves for Addie and Wing as the novel progresses? Which character does the title speak to?
- Addie and Wing have a deep bond, almost from the first moment they meet. List the reasons why the two are drawn to each other and why Addie comes to trust Wing more than anyone, "except maybe Tommy."
- On page 154, Wing claims, "One language is never enough." Do you agree? Describe times in your life when you've also felt that words weren't enough to capture life's experiences.
- Addie comes to a new territory and then is alone, "the last Maine she knew of," fairly soon after. Can you imagine being in her shoes? Being in a territory where there wasn't much space for women?
- The landscape serves as a character in this book, the "anonymity of open space" serving as a backdrop for constricting social forces. List scenes where you see the landscape interacting with Addie and Wing's relationship, either as an antidote or as a restricting force.
- On page 223, Addie states, "For us, Wing, there's no such thing as anywhere." Do you agree with her?
- The dreams of the men in the novel are listed on the page - Tommy's homestead, Wing growing oranges - whereas Addie's are more vague. What do you see as her dreams?
- Muuk can't be intimate with Addie during their marriage and then there is a surprising moment upon her return to Dire years later. How do you explain his inhibitions?
- Addie tells Maye on page 231, "Its love
but not the kind you're thinking." Do you believe Addie here?
- Addie gives Ah Cheong a memento from Wing to take back to China. Harkening back to the theme of home, do you think people "belong" in certain places?
- At the book's end Addie she acts kindly toward Muuk. How does this shape how we feel about Addie at the end of the novel?
- What did you as a reader want for Addie and Wing? And, is this possible given their period? Discuss how the genre of historical fiction can both limit its characters via their context but also expand their possibilities through imagination.
- Though Take Me Home is centered on a particular moment in history, its themes of xenophobia and building an "American" identity are certainly still contemporary. Discuss the echoes from the book in the debates about immigrant labor we are engaged in today.
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.