The All Good Books club will meet at the Community of Christ church (7842 Mission Road, Prairie Village, Kansas) on Thursday, September 8, 2016 to discuss The Bullet by Mary Louise Kelly.

The following are some possible discussion questions for the evening.

  1. At the beginning of the novel (page 2 and again on page 49), the narrator says, “All people have their secrets, and not just things they keep from you, but secrets about you. Things they hope you’ll never learn. You can share your home with someone, share all the silly, little details of life, share the soap, the sugar bowl, shoes—and you would never guess. You think you know someone.” Do you agree and why?
  2. On page 62, the narrator quotes Faulkner who says, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past,” then she reflects on the quote and disagrees. What’s your reaction to the quote?
  3. Have you ever had an MRI? What was the experience like?
  4. The narrator and main character of The Bullet, Caroline Cashion, becomes fascinated with learning about her parents. Why? Are there answers to questions about your parents that you wish you knew?
  5. The narrator says on page 111, “In the wild, a mother tiger will fight to the death to defend her young. She will knock down an animal four times her size, will attack and kill even a male tiger. When she senses a threat to her cubs, she growls. Then she flattens her ears and bares her canines, the corners of her open mouth pulled back. That snarl is the last thing a would-be predator ever sees.” Is there a parallel among humans?
  6. What’s your opinion regarding the character of the next door neighbor woman, Cheral Rooney? Trustworthy, neighborhood gossip, jealous? Why?
  7. How does Cheral describe Sadie Rawson?
  8. In the story (page 166), how is the Social Security Administration’s Death Master File described? Does it really exist?
  9. On page 170, the author says, “Closure isn’t about raising the dead. It’s about providing the victim with a sense that—that justice has been served.” How would you define closure?
  10. The narrator talks about the five basic senses on page 184. Why?
  11. On page 239, the narrator describes the evolution of long distance calls between 1886 and the 1950s. What do you recall about the changes in telephony during your lifetime?
  12. How would you categorize the key event in chapter 49? Vengeance, self-defense, accident, premeditated, or?
  13. What was the greatest surprise in the novel?
  14. How did your “guess” about the identity of Sadie and Boone Rawson’s murderer evolve during the novel? When did you “guess” correctly, if you did?
  15. After a conversation with Beamer Beasley, on page 347, the narrator says, “You know, it’s taken me a long while to grasp this. But sometimes justice is served in ways that have precious little to do with the criminal justice system.” Do you agree or disagree and why?
  16. At the end of the novel, page 352, the narrator opinions, “You think you know yourself. You think you know whether you care for coffee, whether you care for cigarettes, whether you like to swear, whether you could kill a man. You think you know what you are capable of. Then one day you discover that, quite literally, you are not the person you thought you were.” Have you ever had a similar epiphany? Explain.
  17. What choice did Caroline make in the final chapter of the novel? What evidence do you have for that conclusion? What would you have done?
  18. Compare the morality of Betsy Sinclaire’s actions throughout the book with those of Caroline Cashion.
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