If you are part of a reading group, you may find these questions helpful when discussing Truth Runs Deep. Feel free to submit additional questions that you think other reading groups may appreciate in the comment box below.
- What was your general response to the work? Did it live up to your expectations? Why or why not?
- How realistic was the characterization? Did the actions of the characters seem plausible? Why or why not? Can you relate to their predicaments? To what extent do they remind you of yourself or someone you know? Which character could you relate to best and why? Would you want to meet any of the characters?
- If one (or more) of the characters made a choice that had moral implications, would you have made the same decision? Why or why not?
- Were there any characters you “couldn’t stand?” If so, which ones and why did they evoke an emotional response? Do you think that is what the author intended? Why or why not?
- How did the author deal with the protagonist versus the antagonist? Was she successful in developing them both in a realistic way? Why or why not?
- What was more important, the characters or the plot? Was the plot moved forward by decisions of the characters, or were the characters at the mercy of the plot? What events in the story stand out for you as memorable? Was the story chronological? Was there foreshadowing and suspense or did the author give things away at the beginning of the book? Was this effective? How did it affect your enjoyment of the book?
- How would you describe the conflict in the book? Was it singular in nature or was there a more complex structure of conflict at work? How did the author weave it into the story? Was it effective?
- Did the rising action lead to an acceptable climax and resolution? Were you able to anticipate the ending or were you surprised? How did this impact you as a reader? What did you like/dislike about the ending? Is this a book you would like to see continued in a series? Why or why not?
- What specific themes did the author emphasize throughout the novel? What do you think she is trying to get across to the reader? Was there redemption in the book for any of the characters? Is this important to you when reading a book?
- Did certain parts of the book make you uncomfortable? If so, why did you feel that way? Did this lead to a new understanding or awareness of some aspect of your life you might not have thought about before?
- How was the book structured? Did the author use any structural or narrative devices like flashbacks or multiple voices in telling the story? How did this affect the story and your appreciation of the book? Do you think the author did a good job with it? Whose voice was the story told in (from whose point of view is the story told)? How do you think it might have been different if another character was telling the story?
- Talk about the author’s use of language/writing style. Were there any favorite passages out loud? Was the language appropriate to the story? Was it more poetic or vernacular? Did it stand in the way of your appreciation of the story, or enhance your enjoyment of the book? Was the dialogue realistic sounding? Was there a rhythm to the author’s style, or anything else that might be considered unique about it?
- Was the author fairly descriptive? Was she better at describing the concrete or the abstract? Was the author clear about what he or she was trying to say, or were you confused by some of what you read? How did this affect your reading of the book?
- Compare this book to others your group has read. Is it similar to any of them? Did you like it more or less than other books you’ve read? What do you think will be your lasting impression of the book? What will be your most vivid memories of it a year from now? Or will it just leave a vague impression, and what will that be? Or will you not think of it at all in a year’s time?
- Was their anything unique about the setting of the book? Was the author’s description of the landscape/community a good one?How did this affect your appreciation of the book?
- In what ways do the events in the books reveal evidence of the author’s world view?
- If you were to describe the book with just one word, what word would that be?
- Would you recommend it to a friend? Did this book make you want to read more work by this author?
Don’t be afraid to let the discussion go where it will — if one particular aspect of the book really captures your group member’s attention, allow them to stay on this theme, rather than rushing them through all the questions you have prepared.