The Road Home
Reading Group Guide
1. How is the portrait John Northridge II paints of himself in his "memoir" different from the picture we get through other characters? Do you think this was intentional on his part?
2. Who is the main character of this story? Whose narrative -- John Northridge II's, Nelse's, Naomi's, Paul's, or Dalva's -- did you most enjoy and why? Out of the characters we don't hear from directly -- including Duane, Neena, Adelle, and John Northridge III -- who would you most like to have heard from and why?
3. Much of the book takes place during the mid to late 1980s. Does this feel like a contemporary novel to you?
4. The characterization of Dalva as a young girl is particularly striking. How did your knowledge of her childhood personality influence your reading of her own section of the book? Did she seem like the same person to you?
5. Discuss the nature vs. nurture dilemma as it relates to Nelse. Is he too like his blood relatives for it to be credible? How is he different from them and what did his adoptive parents have to do with it?
6. Both John Northridge II and Nelse see themselves (and/or are seen by others) as men out of time. What makes them so? What else do these two characters have in common despite their never having met?
7. Does Dalva behave as you would have expected when she meets Nelse? If not, how are your judgments related to the commonly accepted view of motherhood? Does she b see more