Turtle Moon (Hoffman) - Discussion Questions

Discussion Questions
Use our LitLovers Book Club Resources; they can help with discussions for any book:

How to Discuss a Book (helpful discussion tips)
Generic Discussion Questions—Fiction and Nonfiction
Read-Think-Talk (a guided reading chart)

Also consider these LitLovers talking points to help get a discussion started for Turtle Moon:

1. Hoffman presents us with two deeply troubled males, 12-year-old Keith and adult Julian. What do they have in common? What has caused Keith's anger and Julian's anguish? Is history destiny for these two people—for all of us?

2. Why does Keith run off with the baby?

3. Talk about Lucy Rosen. What kind of woman is she? Why can't she seem to penetrate her son's anger? Why has she left her husband in New York, and what is she seeking in Verity? In fact, what are all the divorced women in Verity seeking or running from?

4. Talk about the characters—both major and minor ones. Whom do you find especially appealing or sympathetic?

5. Whose ghost is in the tree outside Burger King? Why is it there? And how does it eventually bring redemption to Julian?

6. Hoffman believes in a magical world and wants her readers to experience it. Talk about what Hoffman means by "magic" and how she injects it into this novel. What role do signs and wonders play in the book; in other words, how do they affect characters and events? Do you enjoy her use of the fantastic...or find it off-putting? Either way, why?

7. Hoffman has said that the landscape and weather of Florida, inspired her to write Turtle Moon—the fictional Verity became the first character in her novel. What might she mean—how can setting be character?

8. Talk about the role of the dogs in this story? Why is Arrow important to Keith? What do you think about the finale, especially Arrow's fate?

9. Find and discuss passages in the book that you feel express some truth or poignancy or humor. These, for instance:

There is, after all, strong brown soap for poison ivy, iodine for cuts and bruises, mud for bee stings, honey for sore throats, chalky white casts for broken bones. But where is the cure for meanness of spirit?

The air all around the town limits is so thick that sometimes a soul cannot rise and instead attaches itself to a stranger, landing right between the shoulder blades with a thud that carries no more weight than a hummingbird.

He cried so hard that when he finished there was a pile of tiny pebbles at his feet.

10. What is the thematic significance of the book's title? What do turtles mistaking street lights for the moon have to do with the events of the novel? In other words, how do the turtles' movements express an underlying meaning of the novel?

11. How about the ending—what do characters learn by the end, how do they bind up their wounds? Is the ending satisfying or not?

12. If you've read other books by Alice Hoffman, how does this one compare?

(Questions by LitLovers. Please feel free to use them, online or off, with attribution. Thanks.)

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