Book Club Discussion Topics

Paper Stones

Topics you can chew on with snacks (might want wine with #7)

  1. Rose finds wonderful friendships in Group. Talk about how and when friendship is key. Who are your favourite characters? 
  2. Wishing for a heartfelt life partnership, and not finding it easily, is something that many people can relate to. Discuss Rose and men, including Dave.
  3. Almost everybody in the book has secrets. What do secrets do to people in this story? What happens when they get rid of their secrets?
  4. What do you think about Josie, the "seer"? Have you ever known anyone who seemed to see the future? How did you feel about Josie and her visions?
  5. Talk about luck in this story.
  6. What do you think of the way Rose and her friends talk? Does their speech have any advantage over other types of English for telling this story? What did you feel about Rose talking right to you, the reader? Did any funny sayings jump out for you? What about the way the leader talks?
  7. What did you feel when Rose kept screwing up? Have you known anyone struggling with a tough recovery from any kind of trauma? Do you recognize any behaviours or coping mechanisms? Do growth and healing, as shown in this book, strike you as genuine possibilities?

Bring-it-on topics like they used to make you write an essay on

  1. Beneath the gritty realism of the surface story, we find folklore: a princess under a curse, a fortune teller, a castle, lost treasure, three wishes, a mythic underworld with an evil cave-dweller. What are folktale elements doing in this story? How do you feel about them? Do they have meaning? Do they affect the action, the tone, the evocation of children's experience?
  2. The "rockslide" is a recurring image. We see damage roaring down through time, injured people careening on down and crashing into the next people, like rocks in a rockslide. Rose struggles with questions of fault and blame. Is anyone at fault for anything in this book? Does anyone have any power? Can anyone escape the consequences of the past and get control of their own destiny?
  3. Discuss the leader Meredith and her distorted leadership. What causes her to undermine her group members at certain moments? What is she afraid of? What does she want from the group? Does any of this have any relevance to leaders and leadership in wider contexts?
  4. Nature is a pervasive presence in Paper Stones, especially water and sky. Rose is constantly associated with water and Josie with the sky. What dimensions do the natural images add to characters and to the novel?
  5. Circles are often connected with addictions in this book and spirals with learning. Discuss.
  6. The paper stones of the title are words on construction paper. Rose uses them in her healing, in documenting her progress, in teaching others. She calls her paper stepping stones her sole defense for her child's future against the looming weight of the past. Discuss words on paper.