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Book Club Questions for Brute Heart

Book Club Questions for Brute Heart by Ginger Dehlinger

1. The title for Brute Heart was inspired by a line in “Daddy,” a poem by Sylvia Plath. Plath had a terrible relationship with her father, worse than Jordan did with hers, but this noted poet married a man much like her hated father. How does this aspect of Sylvia Plath’s life relate to what takes place in Brute Heart?

2.  The words brute and brutal are used three times in the story, each time in conjunction with a character whose thoughts or actions reflect a brute heart. Do you agree these characters deserve the designation? Reference pp. 162, 299, 307 in Create Space printings; pp. 135, 244, 251 in first printing.

3.  Why do you think Jordan improved her life while her brothers failed?

4.  How does the author treat the story of Cinderella in chapters 17 and 36?

5.  Is there a tendency for alcoholism to be passed from one generation to another?

6.  Many animal metaphors appear throughout the story to describe people, places, or actions.  Reference pp. 5, 155, 197 in Create Space printings; pp. 11, 129, 162 in first printing.

7.  Do you believe euthanasia by family member takes place? Does having the option of assisted suicide prevent it?

8.  Why did Annie stay married to Cooper despite his alcoholism and abuse?

9. At the end of chapter 36, does Cooper still want to die?

10. If you had never been to Oregon when you read Brute Heart, what would you have learned about the state?

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