BOOK OF THE MONTH

The Real Education of TJ Crowley is Bookclubz' Book of the Month.

Use these discussion questions to guide your next meeting.

ABOUT THE BOOK

The Real Education of TJ Crowley puts the themes of "To Kill a Mockingbird" in overdrive in an unflinching look at racism in the late 1960s. Fans of "The Secret Life of Bees" or "Whistling Past the Graveyard" will enjoy this story for our times.

THE DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

What, if anything, would be “fake” education? What does Overstake’s use of “real” underline/emphasize?


What does this epigraph by Maya Angelou lead you to expect from the novel? How/in what ways does it engage with the notion of “real education”?


The story is told entirely through the perspective of one character (TJ). Whose voice would you have liked to hear? What additional info might we learn from a different narrator? How might their recounting of a particular incident differ from TJ's? How might the reader’s experience with the novel be impacted if they were reading it through another character’s eyes? Why would the author choose TJ as his narrator instead of another character?


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The Real Education of TJ Crowley

"A remarkable book that takes on the choices faced by a young white teenager caught up in the racial maelstrom of desegregation in the American hinterland...Offers readers, particularly teens, a chance to think about some of the most important issues facing our society today. I heartily recommend it." -Mark Potok, former Senior Fellow, Southern Poverty Law Center "Set in an explosive moment in America's racial history, this coming-of-age story prompted me to consider my own moral courage...I was on the edge of my seat turning the pages and rooting for TJ as he navigated his young life with increasing clarity." - Debby Irving, author of Waking Up White "Raw, deliberate and honest...this book is about potential, about what happens when people are seen as people and not as a 'word.' Read it in a group and talk genuinely about history and its important connection to current society." - Margeurite Penick-Parks, co-editor of Everyday White People and A Guide for White Women Teaching Black Boys "A nostalgic and haunting work of fiction. Anyone who remembers the late 1960s will find the story warm and familiar and deeply unsettling...A window into a time and place that seems so distant and yet so familiar." - Jay M. Price, Ph.D., Director of the Local and Community History Program, Wichita State University "The perfect book...Will provide meaningful discussions in the classroom." - Jenna Chandler-Ward, Co-Founder of Teaching While White Selected in partnership with DartFrog Books.