There Will Be No Miracles Here (Gerald) - Discussion Questions

Discussion Questions
We'll add publisher questions if and when they're available; in the meantime, use our LitLovers talking points to help start a discussion for THERE WILL BE NO MIRACLES HERE … then take off on your own:

1. What are the influences in Casey Gerald's early life that shaped the kind of man who would come to write There Will Be No Miracles Here? Consider his mother's disappearance, his father's struggle with addiction, and his grandfather as leader of a megachurch.

2. Why was the idea of perfection so important to Casey? He feels he should have been more nonconforming, that he should have resisted expectations. What does he mean, and why does he believe in the importance of nonconformity? What do you think?

3. Talk about the meaning of book's title and its relationship to the first pages. Gerald's memoir opens with his 12-year-old-self praying: "Lord, please take me with You when You come." In what way was Gerald's faith shaken when his savior didn't come for him?

4. Follow-up to Question 3: Consider the title once again: how does its meaning continue to follow Gerald during the next decade or so of his life: Yale, Lehman Brothers, Harvard?

5. How did Gerald experience Yale University as black 18-year-old?

6. How does Gerald define the American Dream? By all measures, it would seem that he himself has achieved the pinnacle of the dream. Yet he rejects its truth. Why?

7. Why did Gerald write this memoir—for what purpose—to point out injustices, to propose solutions, to urge reform, to help others, or to examine his own sense of self?

8. Gerald says it would be easier to have a mother die rather than disappear. Where you shocked, or do you understand why he might make such a statement?

9. Gerald was "just a boy defined by his circumstances," as he writes. He continues…

Perhaps we all are …but why do we lie about it? Why don’t we want to believe it? Is it that it shames us to admit how limited our power is, how much we can submit—have submitted—to the things we did not choose?

What is your response to that question? Are we the sum of our circumstances? Or are we "the captains of our fate"?

10. Watch Casey Gerard's TED talk. How does compare with his memoir? How do the two, the talk and the book, complement one another?

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

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