Questions: The Hero of This Book

These questions were written on October 24, 2022, using only the content of the book as a resource. They are written for real readers, to serve as prompts for individual reflection or book club discussion. They are free for your use, but please do not distribute copies of the discussion questions; instead, provide a link to this page. Copyright October 2022, Your Book Group / Catherine Beeman

  1. What is your understanding of the memoir genre? Does it need to be 100% true, or is there room for a little fiction in there?
  2. Elizabeth McCracken’s narrator creates when she has suffered a loss or failure. What life events or circumstances motivate you to create? (We are all creators. You might write, draw, plan parties, design buildings, plan and execute special meals, build websites, garden – there are as many possibilities as there are humans and desires.)
  3. The narrator recounts a story in which her mother, who used canes to walk, told members of a disability compliance group at her university that she was late to their meeting because she had to crawl up the steps to the building’s entrance on her hands and knees.
    • Why do you suppose the author didn’t share the compliance group’s response to news of such hardship?
    • Do you imagine the character accepting help from others, or did she do this all on her own?
    • Toward what goal would you actually crawl on your hands and knees? What do you want so intensely that you would be willing to risk physical hardship and the vulnerability of exposure? Would you accept the help of others as you climbed?
    • Toward what goal would you figuratively crawl on your hands and knees? Are you presently doing this?
  4. Elizabeth McCrackern uses repetition: “I am only one person.” “This is not a memoir.” The repetition is almost poetic; what impact did this have on your reading?
  5. Is there a point in your reading that you became mostly convinced that this either is or is not a memoir? If so, where was this point and what was your conclusion?