Reading Groups

Spoiler alert: Reading Group questions may contain spoilters!

1. Do you want to know the kid's name? Have you tried to guess it? Does his anonymity add to the tension? 

2. How does the heat-wave environment add to or detract from the theme of inspiration? 

3. In what ways does the theme of inspiration come through?

4. How does Tom come across: as a hindrance or as a help?

5. Why does the kid not listen to the Sandersons? Why does he risk alienating them? 

6. Why does the kid feel a closeness to such characters as Seamus, Barney, Gazza and Weedo?

7. If the kid does not like Flame Boy, why does he bother with him? In the end, was it worth the risk?

8. Does it work that there are some 120 people mentioned in the book, half of them speaking? Why or why not? Who were your favourites?

9. How did you feel about Flame Boy? Or did you feel nothing? Why? 

10. The kid's voice is quite distinct. Does it strike you as funny or tragic, or as something else. Why? 

11. Does the kid seem to be honest with the reader, or dishonest? Does it matter in the end?

12. How well does the kid know himself, his family members, and his friends?

13. There is a confidence about the kid that is almost supernatural. Can you suggest it's source? Does he hint at cultural roots that might explain it? 

14. Do you think the kid is too hard on God? Does God deserve his judgement?

15. How does the kid use people as resources? Do you see this as a fault or a skill? Where did he get it?

16. What literary devices does the author use to engage the reader? 

17. The kid's relationship with his grandfather seems quite complex. What factors make it so? 

18. In the end, did you think the kid triumphed, or simply made the most of a bad job, or achieved some other positives or negatives?

19. Is the kid fair in his assessment of the adults around him? Where does he get this perspicacity?

20. How did you respond to the kid's experiences with girls (and women)? Were you sympathetic?

21. How well does the kid succeed at playing Tom Sawyer?

22. How can his brother Tom be such a powerful driving force in the plot without actually being present?

23. What effect did the novel have on you - as a person, as a reader, as a former child? Did any bits make you laugh, or cry? What was the funniest bit - and the saddest bit?

24. What 'flavour' did the book leave you with, what feelings, what memories?

25. Would you like to meet the kid, and if so under what circumstances?

26. After reading The Cartographer and The Torch, a number of readers commented that they would like to take the kid home with them? Would you?

27. The kid’s philosophy seems to be that anything goes if you can get away with it. Do you think he really believes that?

28. The kid gives the impression that the world of adults is a ‘dodgy' place.  How correct is his assessment?

29. What is the kid’s attitude to anyone who is different to the norm? How many examples can you think of?

30. If you could send a message to the kid, what would you say?

Copyright ©  Peter Twohig. All rights reserved.