Deadly Wandering (Richtel)

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 start a discussion for A Deadly Wandering:

1. Should reading A Deadly Wandering be compulsory in schools across the country as former Governor Jon Huntsman of Utah has said (see book reviews above)?

2. In what way does the author suggest that Reggie Shaw's upbringing played a role in the accident? What about Reggie's family—what role did it play, especially in the immediate aftermath of the crash?

3. Talk about the arc of Reggie Shaw's redemption. He was reluctant at first to admit fault, let alone apologize; what happened to set him on his new path? Can you put yourself in Reggie's shoes? What would it feel like to have caused such devastation for something so trivial?

4. Talk about the scientific findings Matt Richtel presents in his book, especially the evidence that adolescent brains are different  from adult brains. In what ways do they differ?

5. Does the author do a good job of leading readers through the science and helping us find answers? Did reading about the many neuroscientific theories and studies, and hearing from numerous scientists, make it difficult to determine which research is more important? Or were you able to arrive at your own assessment?

6. And then there's dopamine...always dopamine. Explain!

7. Discuss the two differing types of attention: top down and bottom up.

8. Richtel suggests that we're distracted because we wish to be. Do you agree? What are your own proclivities for distraction—how easy is it for you to lose yourself in thoughts rather than pay attention to the moment at hand.

9. What about smart phones—how have they added to our already overburdened attention spans? Richtel presents several analogies as a way to explain our attraction to phones and texting—alcohol, drugs, television, video games, slot machines, junk food, and a tap on the shoulder. Which one, if any, do you find most apt?

10. What parts of A Deadly Wandering do you find most powerful and moving?

11. Do you think this book will save lives?

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

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