Six years ago, while Waking Up Joy was still simmering on the back burner, I wrote a couple of books about California. I lived there for five years in my early twenties and the stunning scenery and lifestyle of the wine country stuck with me. When he novel released a book club guide was included in the back, but I also compiled an additional guide that you could only get from me. I’m reposting it today, in case your club is looking for a good read, and I’m also thinking about putting together a Waking Up Joy book club guide. If you’ve read ‘Joy’ and have a good question for book clubbers, leave it in the comment. Who knows? I might include it.
Is your Book Club or Reader Group considering Ruby Among Us? Here are some bonus questions that aren’t already included in the back of the book. Feel free to print them out, rewrite them, use one of them or all of them. I hope they provide you with some thought-provoking conversations. Thank you for selecting Ruby Among Us! I really apprecate it and hope you enjoy the book:
- Kitty is very neutral about her heritage, calling herself an American only. Why do you think Lucy and Kitty have differing feelings about their heritage? Have you ever felt a need to research your family’s heritage? Why or why not?
- Ruby is a single mom and Kitty essentially lives as a single mom when she is raising Ruby and later as she raises Lucy. How do you think the single parent journey affected the relationship between Kitty and Ruby? How did it affect Lucy and Ruby? Kitty and Lucy? Do you think it would be hard to be a single parent? Do you think you would have made similar or different choices as a parent if you were in the same place as Kitty? How and Why?
- There are many maternal aspects in Ruby Among Us, but what about the men? Their parts in the book may seem small, but their significance to the story is strong. Why do you think this is? How do you feel about the actions of each of the men? In what ways has their decision-making contributed to each woman’s journey?
- Why do you think Max falls for Lucy? And Lucy for Max? Do you think Lucy is mature enough to know how she feels for Max since he is the first “boy” she has ever dated? Is he too old for her? In what other ways could their relationship be considered complicated? If you could write their story, what would you have happen with Max and Lucy?
- The author’s favorite scenes in the book all involve the mothers and daughters when the daughters are still very young. Can you recall any of those scenes? What do they show about each mother’s deepest desires?
- What sort of influence do you think the mothers are having on their daughters in this story? Positive? Negative?
- Lucy, Ruby and Kitty all have very different understandings, opinions, and feelings about faith. Why do you think this is?
- Why do you think Max and Susannah strike up a friendship with Lucy even though their beliefs differ from hers? How do you feel about their differences? Do you see why Lucy would want to be friends with Susannah and Max?
- Why do you think Kitty’s mistakes grew to be so big in her mind that she felt her family, Blake, and even God could not forgive her? Like Kitty, have you ever felt unforgivable? How might other characters in the book answer this question?
- Kitty’s life is complicated. Do you think that makes her easy or difficult to relate to? Can you understand Kitty’s fear of the truth? Are there things other characters in the book could have done differently that might have made Kitty feel differently about family, faith, and the world in general? What do you think would have happened if Kitty had told the truth long before she left La Rosaleda?
Other novels by Tina Ann Forkner: Rose House (Sequel to Ruby Among Us) and the Southern novel, Waking Up Joy.