The Kindest Lie
by Nancy Johnson
Discussion Questions:
1. The book is set during 2008. Why do you think the author chose this era? What has changed since then and what has also remained the same?

2. Why did Ruth wait so long to tell her husband Xavier about having a baby when she was a teenager? What do you make of Xavier's reaction? Was it warranted or do you think he overreacted?

3. Why was it important for Ruth to return to her hometown of Ganton, Indiana, to confront her past? Why has she stayed away for so long?

4. Let's discuss how the recession impacted Ganton and its people.

5. How would have Ruth's life been different if Mama hadn't arranged for her son to be adopted? Do you see why Mama made the decision or do you think she acted in haste?

6. What does the title, The Kindest Lie, mean in relation to the story and Ruth's journey?

7. We read the story from Ruth and Midnight's perspectives. Why was it important for us to also read Midnight's viewpoints?

8. The two develop an unlikely friendship-Midnight sees Ruth as almost a surrogate mother and Ruth feels somewhat motherly to Midnight. What was your impression of their friendship?

9. There is a divide between the black and white communities of the small town. This is also apparent in the dynamic between Midnight's father and Ruth's brother Eli. Let's discuss the racial injustices and class inequalities. How does a town like Ganton began to heal?

10. Ruth is determined to find out what happened to her son. She even entertains the idea of being able to gain custody of him. What would you have done if you were in Ruth's position?

11. It turns out that Midnight is close friends with her son, Corey. And through a chaotic and sad night, she meets Corey but not in the way she would have liked. Let's talk about Corey's reaction to the revelation that Ruth is his mother.

12.In the end, Ruth decides that what's best for Corey is to let him stay with his adopted parents. Do you agree with this decision? Will Ruth and Corey ever have a relationship down the road?

13. What did you think about the ending and her reunion with Xavier? What did Ruth learn about herself in this journey?

Book Club Talking Points:

This book explores racial barriers, wealth disparity, poverty, the consequences of teen pregnancy, how mistakes and secrets can haunt you, and more.

(Discussion Questions by Book Club Chat


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