Better World Book Club: Run by Anne Patchett

Welcome to the Better World Book Club!  This is a monthly feature in which we’ll send you a fabulous book pick, our own discussion questions to encourage friendly debating at your next book club meeting, and fun recipes for snacks to munch on. In other words, you do the reading, we’ll do the preparing. We’ll also be holding our own discussion about the book here on the Better World Blog, so stop by, hear what others have to say, and share your own opinion. Use the “Share This” button at the bottom of the post to forward this recommendation on to all of your book club besties-let the discussions begin!  (To sign up for the newsletter go to manage subscriptions).

Book Club pick for January:

Run by Ann Patchett
“Since their mother’s death, Tip and Teddy Doyle have been raised by their loving, possessive and ambitious father. As the former Mayor of Boston, Bernard Doyle wants to see his sons in politics, a dream the boys have never shared. But when an argument in a blinding New England snow storm inadvertently causes an accident that involves a stranger and her child, all Bernard Doyle cares about is his ability to keep his children, all his children, safe.

Set over a period of 24 hours, Run takes us from the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard to a home for retired Catholic priests in downtown Boston. It shows us how worlds of privilege and poverty can coexist only blocks apart from one another, and how family can include people you’ve never even met. As in her best selling novel, Bel Canto, Ann Patchett illustrates the humanity that connects disparate lives,weaving several stories into one surprising and endlessly moving narrative. Suspenseful and stunningly executed, Run is ultimately a novel about secrets, duty, responsibility, and the lengths we will go to protect our children.”

Discussion Questions:

1.The book begins with the story about the Virgin Mary Statue that resembles Bernadette. The issue of the statue and its ownership is woven throughout the book. Why is this important?

2. Is Teddy’s speech making just a personality quirk, or do the portions of famous speeches included in his own add to the deeper meaning of the story?

3. The story presents the idea of parents who can love his/her own child in addition to children who have come into their lives by circumstance.What is the author saying about these relationships? What do the characters learn about themselves through these relationships? Does DNA really matter? Should it?

4. Why did the author choose “Run” as the title? It clearly applies to Kenya, but discuss how the idea of running applies to each of the characters. Should they run? What are they running from, to, etc.?

5. What is the significance of religion and faith in the book? How does Father Sullivan impact the story? Is it important to know the older brother is named for him? Why is his connection to Tennessee important?

6.  How is Bernard Doyle’s political career impacting his son’s development and his feelings toward Kenya?

7. Is race a part of the story in order to make it clear the boys are adopted or is there more to the issue of race as it relates to the characters and how they see each other?

8.  How do you feel about the conclusion? Did each character grow in the ways you thought necessary?

One Comment

  1. Could anyone please tell me whether Betterworldbooks got books in any language other than English? If they do, how do you search for it? In English language or Transliterated into English? (All what helpline says is that, there’s no option for searching in different languages)

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