Welcome, Book Club Members, and thank you for all you do to share the love of books with others. I hope you decide to make Elephant Mountain part of your reading list — and that its story will provide fertile ground for discussion. Enjoy!
Here are suggestions for possible Discussion Questions:
- Laurel runs away from her problems by joining the Peace Corps. Have you ever considered doing the same?
- Laurel’s fellow volunteers are there for different reasons, including postponing being drafted into the Vietnam War. Why do you think most people join the Peace Corps or similar groups that do work overseas?
- Her mother is a Holocaust survivor and warns her daughter that “There is evil in this world.” Have you ever been exposed to what you felt was pure evil?
- Which character did you find most interesting? Who was your favorite?
- With her bright red hair and pale complexion, Laurel stands out wherever she goes in Uganda. Do you think this obvious otherness keeps her safe or puts her in danger?
- Until 1967, anti-miscegenation laws that made interracial marriage a crime were still enforced in some states. Do you think it is still harder today for interracial couples to be accepted in American society?
- Laurel runs away from societal expectations in Boston, but finds a new set of expectations in Uganda. Which would be easier for you to live with?
- Music is an important part of Laurel’s life. She hears music in nature, rhythms in the everyday. Is there an art you can’t live without?
- Part of the danger in this story involves the lack of the ability to communicate quickly. If this story took place in current day, as opposed to 1971-2, would the characters have reacted differently? Could Amin have committed his widespread atrocities in the social media world?
- The ending is somewhat open. What do you think happens next?