I recently discovered that our library system offers ‘Book Club Kits’ – books for loan with discussion questions. Cool! You can find their offerings – including my novel Come Back here.
In the meantime, consider adding Come Back to your book club list. These questions might spark your interest as well as deep discussions. And do remember that I LOVE interacting with book clubs! Let me know when you’re meeting and I can be there – in person, on Skype or Facetime, via email, or whatever! How fun would that be?
Come Back by Sally Crosiar
Readers Guide: Questions for Book Club Discussions
- In Come Back, four narrators tell their versions of events. What do you like about this approach to storytelling? Were some characters more believable than others? More likable? What are some limitations of first-person accounts? What other characters would you have liked to hear from?
- Early in the book, we learn that Ben values privacy and that both Vi and Tammy have secrets. What is the difference between privacy and secrecy? What are the short- and long-term effects on keeping secrets – on the person keeping the secret? On others?
- People often feel alone following a trauma. Would a movement such as #metoo have helped Vi? How might #metoo have changed Vi’s life trajectory? Or are the downsides of reporting sexual violence so strong, especially in a small town, that even now, many rapes go unreported?
- Although Vi lost her mother at an early age, she’s found other mother figures in Sadie and Opal. In what ways do these very different women provide a role model for the woman Vi has become? What does Vi rely on each for? What women in your lives have helped shape who you have become?
- Tammy appears to have a strong ability to believe what she wants to believe – about her marriage, about her son. How was Tammy’s denial complicit in what happened to Vi? What short-term sacrifices might she have made to create happier long-term family dynamics?
- It’s said that ‘hurt people hurt people.’ How does this statement connect to the characters in the story? What factors cause some to perpetuate the cycle and hurt others? What factors allow others to overcome their hurts and use their experiences to help others? What examples have you seen of forging strength and service for others from adversity?
- When Vi returns to Freedom, she encounters a cast of characters one might find in any small town – Connie at the diner, Lindy and Shirley at the hairdressers, Mrs. Briggs the retired librarian, Mrs. Malone at the bank, Brett and Matthew at the Flatiron Café. What do these characters add to the story? Who are interesting or memorable characters in your community?
- Vi has noticed that Sadie sounds ‘off’ before she gets home to see her aunt’s puzzling, sometimes exasperating, and worrisome behavior in person. Sadie’s family and friends have adopted a variety of responses to Sadie’s probable Alzheimer’s disease. Whose responses seem most effective? What makes it easier for Jenny, a newcomer to the family, to notice Sadie’s decline and accept her as she is? Are there times when love gets in the way of doing what’s best for another person?
- Vi is surprised to find how Freedom has changed since she’s been gone. Have people there really become smarter and more sophisticated? Or is she able to see them more clearly as an adult than she did as a young person? How has your view shifted about your hometown and the people who live there?
- The author intentionally left unanswered questions at the end of the story. What do you think will happen? Will Ben’s and Tammy’s marriage survive? Will JT be convicted and serve time? Will Nate and Vi be able to overcome the challenges they fear might derail their relationship? What compromises and life changes do you foresee characters making in their respective futures? What role will the town of Freedom and its inhabitants play in those futures?