King of Rain – Book Club Questions

Book Club “Firsts!”

I’m excited to be attending my first Book Club – Guest Author gig tonight! It’s lit that fire under my tooshie to get my Book Club Questions organized and I must admit, these are more conversation starters than simple questions.

THEMES FOR FREE-FORM CLUBS

The themes in this story include:
Redemption, authenticity, coming of age, wrestling with your demons, finding agency and empowerment, feeling understood, masculinity and femininity, BDSM, dominance and submission, vulnerability and shame, repression and its consequences, intimacy, conquering suicide, rebirth and baptism (but not the usual kind), crime and punishment, restorative justice, pervasive technology, how music can influence life, city experience plus wilderness access, and most of all, love and hope in the dark nights of the soul.

If your club is pretty “free form” and wants to open discussion with this list, that’s great! I would suggest reading the themes aloud slowly, then reading them again and getting members to raise their hands when they hear a topic that interests them. You could start with the topic that interests the most members.

More Formed Questions

1. Teen Suicide

The original inspiration for this story came out of my concern for LGBT teen suicide. Here’s some further background on the story’s origin. How was it for you to read about a young person who is suicidal? Did you find that you could understand, relate to, or feel compassion for Logan?

Bringing it Home

Have there been any youth suicides in your community? How does this affect you and your people? What are the resources for queer youth near you? Note, if you believe that you have no queer youth in your community, I’d suggest you’re mistaken and the fact that they feel the need to hide is not a good sign. A healthy community includes and celebrates diversity. Does your community do that, and how could this improve?

2. BDSM & Masculinity

I have to laugh at myself because I was genuinely startled when a reviewer listed this book as BDSM. Of course, there is bondage and spanking-type encounters. There are tortured souls and Logan’s craving for punishment and there are dominance and submission issues. Somehow in my brain, this still wasn’t a story about BDSM. For me, it was a story about Logan’s struggle with his masculinity. More on that here.

Logan biggest fear isn’t being outed as gay, it’s being outed as submissive or feminine, and therefore weak. Why do you think this scares him so much? What’s at stake for him?

Bringing it Home

Within your own relationships, can you relate to parts of Logan’s internalized misogyny, the way he loathes the parts of himself that he’s labeled as feminine? Are there ways in which stereotypically feminine tasks or attributes are less valued than those that are considered masculine? Examples: time spent doing “women’s work” doesn’t count as equally valuable when compared to time spent earning money, fixing things or building things. Nurturing tasks are looked down on or taken for granted, such as cooking, cleaning, caring for the sick, talking to those in distress, taking care of children and elders. Do you find yourself surrounded by people who count all work as equal, but internally, you only feel accomplished and satisfied when you are doing “male” tasks?

3. LGBT Mentors

Are there members of the LGBT community that inspire you? More on that here.

Bringing it Home

Do you have elders or wise people in your community that you turn to for guidance and inspiration? If you were King or Queen of the World, how would you choose these people and interact with them?

4. Restorative Justice – Empathy

Restorative Justice Advocate, Margot Van Sluytman has a concept she calls “Sawbonna,” which is a Zulu greeting meaning, “I see you.” Her idea is that when people truly see and understand each other and themselves, compassion and healing can happen. More about that here. Do you feel Logan deserves to find redemption? Why or why not?

Bringing it Home

Restorative Justice advocates often say that “a person is more than the worst thing they have ever done.” Can you imagine being known and judged for your own worst action? Have you witnessed this happening to someone you love?

5. Emotional Damage vs Physical Abuse

Logan is clearly suffering emotionally, but he hasn’t been physically or sexually abused. Many people assume that deep emotional damage comes from abuse, but that’s not always the case. More on that here. Did you have less compassion for Logan because he is not easily placed in the victim category? Did you have less compassion for him because he victimized others? Do you think Logan was emotionally abused? Why or why not?

Bringing it Home

Have you witnessed or experienced long lasting damage that wasn’t caused by abuse? What are red flags for you that a relationship has moved from conflicted to emotionally or verbally abusive?

6. Good Guys vs Bad Guys

Logan and Jeremy are the “bad guys” from book 1, and I’ve had readers say that they refuse to read book 2 because they dislike these characters already. More on that here. Do you look at Logan and Jeremy as good guys or bad guys? Why or why not?

Bringing it Home

Are there people in your real life that you consider irredeemable? Where are the deal breaker lines for you?

7. Love vs Rescue

Do you think that Jeremy rescued Logan, or did Logan rescue himself? Are these distinctions important to you? More on that here.

Bringing it Home:

I don’t believe that another person can “rescue” you from your own demons, but I think love has a way of challenging us. It gives us the opportunity to address our junk. We can always choose not to, but it gives us that kick in the butt to try. Has love ever inspired you to address something from your past that you’ve dragged behind you like an anchor?

8. Soundtracks – Technology

With the age of these characters, I felt it was important to include the fact that technology is a part of their every moment, with the use of cel phones and media. We all know the potential downsides to this, but I wanted to also explore the idea that technology can facilitate sharing. In what ways do the characters benefit from their use of technology?

More on that here.
And here about the Soundtrack Song “Take Me to Church”.

Bringing it Home

Are there ways that technology and the internet benefit you, your family, friends and community? Are there books or songs or movies that have opened your mind to new ideas you didn’t have access to before?

Let Me Know!

I’d love to hear how your book club went, if you developed any new questions / discussion topics and any other comments about this!

With love and hope,
Michele - Parisienne Signature

PS: On Use of these Questions

Some book clubs are more intellectual and literary. (Those are the ones that most enjoy the hard core erotic material. Heh.) And some groups love to “bring it home,” ie bringing their own personal lives and stories into the discussion. These questions are meant as suggestions only – please only pick and choose what suits you and yours!

PSS: A Note on Gender

I don’t actually believe that doing laundry is women’s work, or that nurturing is not done by men. Au contraire! In these questions, I’m using popular culture (and often outdated cultural ideas) to poke the whole gender labelling issue.

By | 2016-06-18T02:24:03+00:00 June 18th, 2016|Male/Male Romance, West Coast Boys|

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