This article contains engaging book club questions for Deacon King Kong by James McBride. Oprah selected Deacon King Kong for her June 2020 book club pick, praising its ability to evoke sorrow, joy, resilience, humanity, and the understanding that we find solace in one another. The story is unique and takes a bit to gain momentum, but it impressively weaves together various layers. One of the main takeaways is the significance of community and connections. Let’s delve into the questions that will spark fascinating discussions among your book club members.
Opening Thoughts and Sportcoat’s Actions
- The book starts off with a focus on Sportcoat and his shooting of Deems Clemens. What are your thoughts on this intriguing opening?
- Throughout the novel, Sportcoat is visited by his deceased wife, Hettie. Do you believe she was a figment of his imagination or an actual spirit? Or did the author intentionally leave it open for interpretation?
Sportcoat’s Luck and Memory
- In the beginning, there is a recurring emphasis on bad luck following Sportcoat. Do you think this is true, or was it all self-inflicted?
- Sportcoat claims not to remember shooting Deems, but he expresses opinions about Deems’ decision to abandon his baseball career for drug dealing. Why do you think he shot Deems?
Sportcoat’s Rage and Other Characters
- When Deems is in the hospital, Sportcoat suddenly remembers shooting him and becomes enraged. What do you think is behind his rage toward Deems?
- Deacon King Kong has a plethora of characters and intricate storylines. What are your thoughts on the various characters and their roles?
Engaging with the Story
- Were you immediately engaged with the story, or did it take some time to capture your interest?
- How did you feel about Elefante’s storyline and the significance of the “soap,” which turns out to be the oldest three-dimensional object in the world?
- Elefante’s father was the original supplier of the cheese. Who do you think took over after his passing?
- What are your thoughts on the romance between Sister Gee and Potts?
Revelations and Sportcoat’s Influence
- Sister Paul reveals some surprising information about her friendship with Old Guido Elefante. Do you think Sportcoat shared the truth about the “soap” with Elefante?
- Let’s discuss the title and Sportcoat’s reaction when he discovers his nickname, “Deacon King Kong.”
- After Deems and Elefante’s final confrontation, it is revealed that Deems returns to baseball. What role did Sportcoat play in this decision?
Unresolved Mysteries and Symbolism
- What do you think actually happened to the Christmas box?
- Sportcoat is often seen as a dead man but repeatedly escapes peril. Do you believe there is a deeper message in this?
Reflecting on the Ending
- What are your overall thoughts on the ending? Did it provide closure, or were you left wanting more?
- McBride referred to Deacon King Kong as a book about church. How do you interpret this statement?
Setting and Time Period
- Why do you think the author chose to set the book in 1969?
These thought-provoking book club questions will encourage lively conversations and allow you and your fellow members to explore the various themes, characters, and mysteries within Deacon King Kong. Enjoy your discussions and be sure to check out more book club recommendations on Ratingperson’s website.