Angela Johnson

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Discussion questions

Spoiler alert! Some of the questions contain key elements of the plot. Do not read if you don't want to know what happens!

  1. Why do you think the book is titled "Heaven?"
  2. What is heavenly about the town that Marley lives in? What isn't?
  3. What do you think Jack, the man Marley thought was her undle, drifts around the country. Why does he always name his dogs "boy"? What are his hopes? What are his fears?
  4. Unlike Jack, Bobby is raising his child by himself. Do you think he made a more responsible decision than Jack?
  5. Marley says, "The past doesn't always make sense of the present." What does she mean by that?
  6. There are several dreams described in the book. What do the dreams reveal about the dreamers?
  7. Do you think Marley should forgive her parents? Is her anger justified? Do you blame them for the decisions they've made?
  8. How do her parents respond to Marley's anger?
  9. How does Marley's understanding of the Maple family change over time? Why do you think Shoogy dislikes her family so much? Why does she cut herself?
  10. What makes a real family?
  11. Do you think Marley comes to terms with her definition of family by the end of the novel? How?

Portions of this discussion guide are credited to the Aladdin Reading Guide published by Simon & Schuster.

Created in part with funds granted by the Oregon State Library under the Library Services and Technology Act, administered by the Oregon State Library.