Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes

By: 

Chris Crutcher

Number of Pages: 

216

Minimum grade level: 

8th

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. Author Chris Crutcher dedicates this book "for all those who finally stand up
    for themselves." Which characters learn to stand up
    for themselves? What has to happen to get them there?
  2. Narrator Eric Calhoun ("Moby") seems to think of himself as Sarah's only real friend. But super loser Dale Thornton is the person she tells what really happened when she was burned. Why do you think she chooses Dale to confide in?
  3. Sarah Byrnes has spent a lifetime standing up for herself but it hasn't made her safe or happy. What additional lessons or skills does she pick up in the course of the book?
  4. After the abortion discussion in Contemporary American Thought class, Mark Brittain attempts to kill himself. Does the educational value of the class outweigh its risks-why or why not?
  5. Some readers find it confusing that the book skips back and forth between the narrator's middle school memories (such as publishing CRISPY PORK RINDS) and what's happening in the present time. Why do you think the author tells the story in this way-what does he gain?
  6. Why do you think the book ends with Carver, a Vietnam veteran, breaking the law to see that Sarah's dad is caught and punished?
  7. Moby's dad left the family before Moby was born and Sarah's mother runs out on her daughter not just once, but twice. Yet there are several strong adults-parents, a teacher, a minister-who help the kids and who have their respect. What qualities do you notice in the "good" adults? Do they seem realistic?
  8. Moby's dad left the family before Moby was born and Sarah's mother runs out on her daughter not just once, but twice. Yet there are several strong adults-parents, a teacher, a minister-who help the kids and who have their respect. What qualities do you notice in the "good" adults? Do they seem realistic?

Snacks

Swim-team pizza and, if you can find them, crispy pork rinds!

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