1. Assuming that many works of fiction are autobiographical in nature, which elements of the book do you think are factual? Which are fictional? Which are mythical, e.g., based on what really happened as seen through the author’s eyes.
2. What role does John’s “ghost” of play in advancing the story? Does the ghostly character help or hinder the story’s flow?
3. The book attempts to explore the differences between today’s urban and rural Americas. Are these differences real or perceived? Have you ever experienced such cultural gulfs? How did you bridge them?
4. Throughout the book Scooter struggles with his guilt and failures. How much of this self-loathing is fueled by his apparent chronic depression, how much triggered by his religious up-bringing.
5. Was the scene where Scooter confronts, at gunpoint, Sheriff Luke and his deputy realistic? Why or why not?
6. Every small town has its own version of Mary’s Café. What is your favorite such place? Why? What is your favorite menu item?
7. Do you think Shelia Mae ever felt any sexual desire for Scooter? And a related question: Why do some men, even today, continue to believe they can “convert” gay women?
8. How would the book’s narrative have changed if Shelia Mae had been telling the story?
9. Have you ever experienced a John-like character in your life? What impact did he/she have on you? Why?
10. What role did faith and religion play in shaping the narrative? If you discussed these issues with Scooter today, what would his take be on religion? On faith?
11. How did you react to John’s decision meet death in such an unusual fashion? If you had your choice, how and where would you choose to leave this life?
12. Given the book’s cast of characters, which would you have a drink or share a meal with? Which would you like to punch in the mouth? Which would you like to know more about?