Batboy (Lupica) - Discussion Questions

Discussion Questions
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Also consider these LitLovers talking points to help get a discussion started for The Batboy:

1. Why does Hank Bishop seem so angry at everyone on the Tigers team? Why does he rebuff Brian, a mere boy?

2. Is Brian's immersion in baseball, to the point that he eats, breathes, and sleeps it, healthy? Is that kind of devotion typical of adolescents? Will he outgrow it? Should he outgrow it? Or is his passion an indication of doggedness, some character trait that might stand him in good stead in a future career, either in or out of sports? How do you account for the devotion of sports fans...in general?

3. For Brian, Hank Bishop "was the first guy in sports who made Brian want to watch...and he was the first guy to make him care" about baseball. Why is that?

4. In what way is Hank's return to baseball with the Tigers a chance for redemption? Can he redeem himself inspite of his past?

5. Brian says that steroids have corrupted the baseball records and severed the connection between the past and present players. What does he mean by that? What do think about the use of steroids in sports? Is it understandable given the pressures to perform?

6. Talk about Brian's relationship with his mother? At one point, he thinks to himself that he's run out of things to talk to his mother about. Is that normal for boys and mothers? Should Brian's mother learn to enjoy baseball more than she does? Should Brian try to widen his interests? Or, finally, is this just a passing phase to be ignored?

7. Talk about the ways Brian feels abandoned by father figures in his life: first, his real father, and later Hank Bishop's taking steroids. Why does Brian feel that Hank abandoned him when he hadn't yet met him?

8.  Hank says to Brian I'm not the guy you still want to be your hero. I was never that kind of guy....I never wanted to be that kind of guy." What kind of guy does Brian think Hank is? What does Hank mean when he says he isn't who Brian wants him to be?

9. (Follow-up to Question 8: How does having to live up to a legend make life difficult for baseball greats or anyone famous? Why do we place such extraordinary expectations on mere human beings—simply because they have unusual gifts or talents? What do we expect from them—and what does it say about us that we shower them with adoration? Why can't famous people be just...people?

10. What caused Hank's baseball slump? What caused Brian's slump? Are slumps psychological?

11. Why is Hank so grateful to Brian after he comes out of his slump?

12. What does Brian come to realize about his father? What is your assessment of Dudley Cole?

13. Why does Brian's mother seem eager to get involved with another ball player?

14. What do you think the future holds for Brian, his mother, and Hank Bishop?

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

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