CITW Book Club

discussion questions for The Church in the Wildwood bookclub
Discussion questions for The Church in the Wildwood


1. What is the book’s message? Can you define a central theme? How is it relevant to your life?

2. What do you think the author’s motivation for writing this story was?

3. Was there a character you identified with strongly? Did a character remind you of anyone you know? How did that make you feel about the story? Did reading help you understand someone better—or even yourself?

4. Do you feel changed in any way? Did the book expand your range of experience or challenge your assumptions? Can you sympathize with character choices even if you didn't agree with them?

5. What moral questions were brought to the surface? How did the author address these? Do you agree with her choices? Were you offended? Stretched? Challenged? Uncomfortable?

6. Does Iris’ past make her choices forgivable? What were her other options when it came to providing for her son? Why didn’t she take them?

7. What does Paisley’s love for Ernest Hemingway tell you about his character?

8. More than once, Iris shares this sentiment: children raised in the city are a little less than human. How does this sit with you? Do you understand where she’s coming from? Picture Iris in a city. What does that look like?

9. What is it about Iris that makes Samuel hang on? Is this his strength or his flaw?

10. What is more precious: human connection or spiritual integrity? Should people have to choose between the two? Have you?

11. Do you understand Iris’ desire to never have a daughter? How might her story have been different had she raised more than a son?

12. Why is the closet safe for Joseph? Do you think he’ll still need it after the completion of his ‘church’?

13. What does the future look like for Joseph? Do you think he has a fair shot at a successful life?

14. Why did the author pay so much attention to what was on a character’s feet? What is the significance of shoes (or lack there of) in the story.

15. What is it about nature that can be so spiritual? Have you experienced this first hand? What did it mean to you? What or where is your ‘church in the wildwood’?



Do you have questions for the author? Do you need multiple copies at a discounted price for your book club members? Are you interested in inviting the author to one of your book club meetings? Reach out through the contact page.

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© Alanna Rusnak