Confession (Grisham)

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 Confession:

1. How is your reading of this novel affected by the knowledge that much in the book is based on actual events, not just in Texas but in other states as well?

2. What evidence is used to charge and convict Donte Drumm of Nicole Yarber's murder?

3. Enumerate the flaws in the justice system that Grisham's book illuminates, starting with the police officers and their technique of attaining Drumm's confession.

4. What other parts of the system come under Grisham's criticism?

5. What are the pressures that come to bear on the legal system when a murder takes place—pressures that might force an indictment and conviction unfairly?

6. Do you find the sections dealing with Drumm's years on death row believable? Talk about this revealing passage:

You count the days and watch the years go by. You tell yourself, and you believe it, that you'd rather just die. You'd rather stare death boldly in the face and say you're ready because whatever is waiting on the other side has to be better than growing old in a six-by-ten cage with no one to talk to. You consider yourself half-dead at best. Please take the other half....

But Drumm's thoughts end with "no one really wants to die," even if his life is so miserably confined. Talk about the will to live despite life's circumstances.

7. What role does race play in this story?

8. Was this book suspenseful? Was the ending—with all the twists & turns along the way—surprising or predictable? Did you have an idea of how it would end? (Okay, be honest: did you skip ahead to read the ending?)

9. At one point, Schroeder wonders whether he would believe in the death penalty if Boyette rather than Drumm were scheduled for execution. What do you think?

10. Grisham has received criticism that his characters are one-dimensional—either all good or all bad, depending on which side of the death penalty issue they fall on. Do you agree? Or do you feel his characters are fully drawn? What about Keith Schroeder?

11. Grisham has also been criticized for straying from his signature suspense fiction to push his views on the death penalty. Do you agree with those critics? Should Grisham, as a writer of fiction, stay away from hot button political issues? Or should he to use his popularity as a fiction writer to speak out? Does your answer to that question align with your attitude toward the death penalty?

12. Have you learned anything new about the working of the legal system in this country? Do you see it in a different light because of Grisham's book?

13. What are your views regarding the death penalty? Has your perspective been changed by reading this book? Do you see Grisham's book as a fair—or unfair—portrayal of the legal system and death penalty issue?

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

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