Use the questions below as a guide for your book club. We would love to to see your comments below.
1. What personality traits describe Ivorie in the first chapter? Who is she as a woman? What colors or words come to mind when thinking of the boy’s life? How does the man make you feel? What role does Sally play early in the story?
2. How are Ivorie’s days comprised? What is she feeling? What is her outlook on life at this time? In your opinion, how has the boy survived life with the man? How did the discovery of what the boy has to endure affect you?
3. When you first meet Henry he offers his view on Vivien Leigh, animal traps and the Big Q. Describe Henry and his relationship with Ivorie. How are he and Ivorie alike and how do they differ? A cast of characters is introduced at Henry’s store including Holt and Avis. What’s your first impression of them?
4. One bright morning George brings Ivorie blueberries. What words describe that scene? Is George good for Ivorie? How does Refrigerator Lady affect Ivorie?
5. Describe the two viewpoints on the night Ivorie discovers the boy in her garden. What changes do you sense in Ivorie as the boy continues to show up on her porch? What changes do you sense in George?
6. How do Jane, John and Milo add to the rhythm of the book? John says skeletons, witches and monsters are buried in the hills and Ivorie wonders what’s buried in her own house. What is buried there?
7. What words describe the scene in the bathroom when Ivorie tries to give the boy a bath and discovers his lacerated back and cleft palate? What do you want to do at that moment? What is happening to Ivorie?
8. Who is Ivorie when she has finally made her way up into the hills and points the rifle at the man? What arsenal of words describes that scene? Why does the man let her have the boy? What does Henry see in Ivorie when she arrives at her house with the boy? What do you think it means to Ivorie when Loretta tells her, “Sometimes we’re called on to do crazy things”? What does it tell her when George doesn’t want to see the boy?
9. What do you think Ivorie is going through when the boy is lying lifeless in her home? Again, what role does Sally play and why is she important? From what you see in the boy what do you know about his mother? As he is getting stronger at Ivorie’s house, what is happening to her? Can you express the boy’s emotions/feelings on his first truck ride and visit to Henry’s store?
10. If one word can describe Holt’s insides when the milk truck driver said he saw his brother what would that word be? Can you name a couple of scenes of some big walls that Ivorie and the boy come up against and start to break down together?
11. How does the attack change Ivorie? How does it change her feelings toward George? What words bring to life the scenes in the waiting room? How about when Peter says Mama?
12. We can’t change the past but if Holt could go back in time what do you think he would do? Do you think Ivorie knows who Peter’s father is?
13. What is the most memorable scene in the book to you?
14. Who are your favorite characters and why?
15. What does The Big Q ultimately mean