To my great honor, Naked and Hungry has attracted the attention of at least two book clubs. Both clubs go by the name of The Happy Bookers (don’t you love the name?). The Happy Bookers of Lakeland, Florida is already reading the book and planning their discussion.
This occasion has inspired an interesting question, at least in the mind of the author. Can a darkly humorous suspense novel spark insightful discussion? Or is a book such as this meant to be read and enjoyed? Or perhaps both?
Below is a list of ten questions I jotted down tonight that I hope will launch both meaningful and fun discussions of Naked and Hungry. No right or wrong answers here; I’m not even sure they’re the right questions so please let me know what you think.
And fans, whether you’re in a book club or not, feel free to answer one or more of these questions on your own. All advice and opinions are welcome.
- H.T. has been described as a reluctant hero. When is he most reluctant and when is he most heroic?
- Which pair of characters is more different—H.T. and Margaret or H.T. and Jessica?
- What is represented by H.T.’s pared-down possessions?
- H.T. prides himself on his recent state of self-awareness, but is he subject to the same self-delusion as the rest of the characters? If so, to what degree? (Thank you, Steve from Chapel Hill, for the inspiration behind this question.)
- Comedy has been described as an exaggeration of humanity, often described as farce in theatre. Give an example of a scene from Naked and Hungry that demonstrates the most extreme exaggeration.
- Is Jessica fighting a losing battle in her quest to protect the environment? Can one person really make a difference in educating the masses about issues such as fossil fuel consumption or water quality?
- Does the author appear to favor one character over another?
- Do any of the villains deserve pity? Why or why not?
- Naked and Hungry has many subplots. Are they effective in advancing the main story line or do you find them distracting?
- What does the story tell us about the changing values of a community in a recession?