FOR THOSE READING BOMBING THE MOON FOR A BOOK CLUB, YOU MAY FIND DISCUSSION QUESTIONS BELOW
At 24, Devin Rush’s future is unknown and his parents don’t support his dreams of becoming a songwriter. Add to that North Korea’s nuclear threats, a corporate world of greed, and impending automation, Devin feels like the world is rigged against him. Conflict boils at home. Devin is jobless and antagonistic. His parents, wondering if he’ll never man-up, fear he’ll depend on them for life. But when Devin’s grandfather gives him a one-way ticket to Nairobi, he sees no choice but to leave, and then he’s thrust into a world unlike any he’s ever seen. Stunned by his sudden departure, Devin’s family is pushed further afield of the control they crave. Resentment and guilt nudge his parent’s marriage closer to collapse, and abandonment triggers his sister’s long-buried shame. When Nairobi’s election approaches and tensions erupt, Devin is faced with choices and consequences that are all too real.
1. Why is the novel called Bombing the moon?
Discuss how the historic reference bolsters the novel’s main theme.
2. In what different ways, at what times, do the four characters/narrators play out tough love on either themselves or others?
Discuss how relatable these examples are.
3. Why do you suppose the author chose to write Bombing the moon from the point of views of each of the four family members?
What would a single narrator take away from the story?
4. At what times did you suspect a narrator was unreliable?
5. Regarding Devin, what is holding him back from preparing for his future?
Do millennial folks in your life relate to his concerns? Why is he so struck by the animals at the conservatory outside Nairobi?
6. Devin visits Kibera, one of Africa’s largest slums twice. How is the second visit different from the first?
What are the positives, as well as the negatives of life in the slum, and in what ways has your assumptions changed toward slums?
7. Cole’s father, Bill, tells him a story about Roosterville.
Why do you think that bit of history is included in the novel?
8. Why do you think the author chose to kill off Bill, i.e. “Gramps?”
What is particularly ironic about that scene?
9. Julia is upset when Devin disappears. Yet she isn’t bowled over by his return.
What has Julia gone through, burdened, since Devin’s departure, and by the end of the novel, what does she still need to work on? What’s going on with Julia? What do you think she wants?
10. It’s difficult to write a first person point of view of someone taking hallucinating drugs.
Discuss whether or not the scene worked effectively and why. What do we learn of Julia’s and Cole’s marriage? Did this work for you and why?
11. What does Julia “interview” with Oprah symbolize?
12. Lily and Devin were close. What accounts for the shift and why she is so angry with him?
What do anger and shame do to her?
13. Why is Lily outraged by the idea that her portrait might be purchased?
How does it remind her of another trauma?
14. In the end, were you surprised by Cole and Lily’s decisions?
Looking back what hints did the author drop for you?
15. By then end...
...it what ways has Devin grown, and are these differences consistent with what his parents had hoped?