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Earth is Enough (Middleton) - 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 The Earth is Enough:

1. Is this book about fly fishing?

2. Other than fly fishing, what else do Harry's mentors teach him? Why is he in need of their lessons? What are some of the simple wisdoms offered?

3. Describe Harry's mentors—grandfather, uncle and Elias Wonder. Out of the three, do you have a particular favorite? In what ways are these three out-of-step with other residents of the town?

4. Talk about fly fishing as a metaphor for life...and why so many fine authors—Hemingway, Norman MacClean, David James Duncan—have written moving tributes to it.

5. Middleton speaks of "the hopeless addiction to trout and the push of water against your legs." And Uncle Albert wonders, "should any man turn his back on ambition, profit, security, and a parking place in the city, just to pursue a fish? Why is this sport so addictive...what is its lure?

6. How do you view the way of life described so lovingly in this book? Is it something to value? Is it still in existence... under threat...already gone? (If gone, what has taken its place?)

7. If you're a devotee of fly fishing, does Middleton's book teach you anything new about the sport? If you're not a fan, did you, nonetheless, enjoy reading about the sport? What else do you find of value in this work?

8. In what way is this a coming-of-age story? What does Harry come to learn about himself, the adult world, and his place in that world?

9. Talk about the significance of the title, The Earth Is Enough.

10. Does it color your reading of his book to know that Middleton struggled with severe clinical depression and took his own life?

11. Do you find Middleton's character portrayals black and white—that his mentors are perfect while all others are suspicious, slovenly or in some way unpleasant?

12. What other books have you read that are similar to The Earth is Enough? How does this book stack up against those works?

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

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