Ghosts of Harvard Discussion Questions – SPOILER ALERT

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  • Which of these theories did you support at different points in your reading of Ghosts of Harvard? Did your theory change as you read, and if so, when?
    • Cadence is schizophrenic.
    • Cadence is experiencing a time anomaly that can be explained by quantum physics (but we don’t quite understand how or why).
    • Cadence is talking to ghosts.
    • Cadence is being gaslighted by her brother Eric’s murderer, who is causing her to doubt her own mental status.  
  • How did Cadence’s plagiarism accusation add depth to the story, if at all?
  • No book is perfect. This book had elements of mystery, supernatural, and psychological thriller genres.  Which aspect / genre representation do you believe was handled most skillfully by the author? Which was the most awkward?
  • As a follow-up to the previous question, why do you think the author made Cadence’s mother a witness to her brother’s suicide? Some or all of these may apply:
    • To prove that there is no doubt that Eric committed suicide
    • To explain the reason Cadence’s mother was so extremely anxious about Cadence’s mental health
    • To provide a gratuitous twist that served no purpose and was awkward and unlikely
  • How would this book – and your experience of the book – have been different if the setting were different – say, a non-Ivy-League state university or a midwestern private college, or not a school at all? Maybe the military, or a research facility? Could the plotline and characters be easily dropped into another setting?
  • Some might say that Ghosts of Harvard is saturated with privilege. Do you agree? If yes:
    • Do you believe the privilege is acknowledged and addressed in the book? If so, was it adequately addressed?
    • Do you believe the author had a moral responsibility to acknowledge the privilege more fully?
    • If you were editing this book to demonstrate greater awareness of the privilege inherent in attending an Ivy-league school, what would change and how would you change it? (Setting? Characters?)
  • To what reader demographic (age, gender, level of education, income) do you think this book is targeted?

Copyright 2021 Catherine Beeman

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