Obligingly, many authors provide questions for book clubs. Being my debut novel, I’ve never done this before but I thought I’d give it a go. I’ll add questions if and when I think of them.
- It’s been said that my book is a farce, a situational comedy and a comedy of errors. Can you identify parts of the book that demonstrate each of these? – because I think those people were right! [If you identify any other types of humour, please let me know so I can add it to this list. But do provide the answers as well. Update – a reviewer wrote that it is a ‘fish out of water’ comedy.]
- Which jokes made you laugh the loudest? [I’m going out on a limb here, assuming anyone in the multitude of my imaginary book groups did laugh out loud…]
- Can you identify why you found the funniest jokes funny? [Assuming you hadn’t just had abdominal surgery and burst your stitches… I like jokes that come seemingly out of nowhere i.e. completely unpredictable. Once the joke has been played it is easy to realise it is within the context of the character/situation and that the author skilfully set the joke up without the reader realising. I’d love to know what you found funniest and why. By the way, there’s no need to get in touch if you saw all the jokes coming – that would just ruin my day.]
- Can you identify tools of comedy in my book that have been used elsewhere? [E.g. things happening in threes often work well – such as Perdita’s unwanted dining companions when Saul took her to the Italian restaurant… I recall from my school days that Shakespeare was also fond of threes – but getting Portia’s suitors in The Merchant of Venice to choose out of three caskets was no joke. It is fitting though that I bring up Shakespeare as he coined the name, Perdita. Going back to the Italian restaurant, how important was the order of arrival of those unwanted dining companions?]
- Would Saul and Perdita have ever got together if it hadn’t been for Frank? [Had you guessed early on in the book that Frank was such an important character? I’m not sure authors are supposed to include any characters that don’t earn their keep, so to speak.]
- How does Perdita compare to heroines in other romantic comedies? [I could say compare and contrast… but that used to strike dread into me in English lessons…]
- How does Saul compare to heroes in other romantic comedies? [If you work it out, please let me know. Someone might email me for the answer.]
- There is an unusually high proportion of dialogue to prose in the book. What are the pros and cons of this bearing in mind the genre? [Are there any cons…?]
- Some reviewers comment on Perdita’s extreme ignorance, citing things like not knowing she was pregnant and not knowing the word for e.g. birth. Was she that ignorant – or was she so traumatised by the idea of being pregnant and all alone in the world that she used botanical terms as a coping mechanism?
If you have suggestions of other good questions for a group discussion, please get in touch through my contact page.