For Book Clubs, Discussion Groups, Church Circles, Supper Clubs, and Friends Who Just Like to Talk About Books:
With its strong characters, dramatic family relationships and nostalgic setting, ANGEL is sure to be a new favorite in the book club world. Its a powerful story that appeals to readers of all ages, providing plenty of topics for serious discussion and meaningful questions as well as humor, fun reminiscences, and great ideas for food and music.
Here are some ways for your group to experience the book to the fullest and enhance the enjoyment of your gathering.
I love getting to know my readers and I hope to meet as many of you as I reasonably can. Writing is a great joy to me, and being able to share ANGEL with others is a privilege that I want to embrace. Fortunately, there are many ways to make that happen these days. Phone and video conferencing are available to most people, so an author visit could be as simple as scheduling a call or Skype date during your meeting. In places where there are several groups within a certain location, however, it’s possible that I would come to your area and meet personally with your club or a larger gathering of several groups. To find out what will work best for your group, click here and fill out the necessary information as well as your preferences and we will get back to you with some options.
Questions for Discussion
1. What is unique about what Angel brings to the story as the narrator?
2. Consider the actions and reactions of the adults in Angel’s life, particularly Ruth, Naomi and Patsy, as they deal with the family situation. How might Angel’s childhood experience have been shaped for better or for worse had they reacted differently?
3. Think about the major factors affecting this family’s story. Which are actual events and which are assumptions? When are the characters led by fear? In what instances does love become the guiding force?
4. Discuss Patsy and Cal, each as both a culprit and a victim.
5. Angel espouses her own brand of theology. How does she see God? Compare and contrast it to both her mother and her grandmother. Where do their spiritual journeys depart from one another, and what common ground can they claim by the end of the story?
6. Where does Angel’s thinking threaten to take her down the wrong path, and where does her innate wisdom keep her on solid ground?
7. Reflect on the character of Old Susan and her place in the community, taking into account the historical and cultural setting of the story.
8. How is Angel a typical teenager and how is she not typical at all? Think about how she is growing up compared to your own childhood experience, or to that of girls her age today.
9. Despite the fact that Angel and Sophie are quite different in temperament, they are still very close friends. Discuss their relationship.
10. Each of the major characters demonstrates a measure of wisdom at some point or another, some more than others. Discuss this in terms of Angel, Old Susan, Dottie Ames, Patsy, and Ruth – and even in the less obvious cases of Naomi, Calvin, and Sophie.
11. Near the end of the book, Angel considers that perhaps the biggest mystery of her life wasn’t where her father was, but what has been “holding Mama and me at arm’s length.” What does she mean by this? Consider their relationship over the course of the book, and what it might look like going forward.
12. Where do you think Ruth went on the afternoon of Cal’s return? Might it have had anything to do with the events of that night?
13. Given some of the content of Patsy’s ramblings, what could the reader glean about her emotional life both as a child and as a young adult?
14. Where, if anywhere, do you see symbolism in the novel? Consider elements such as the ravine, Angel’s journey across the river, her red hair, the acorn, her experience with the snake.
15. Consider Angel’s immediate reaction to learning the “piece that had always been missing from the puzzle of my life.” Given the circumstances, how might the adults in her life have better prepared her for that moment?
16. Discuss death as a thread that runs through the novel. How does Angel grow in her awareness and understanding of it?
17. Discuss the ways hope, redemption, and healing are manifest in this story. Explore how these experiences might affect each of the main characters’ lives moving into the future.