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Book Club Kits: Wonder Show

Alamance County Public Libraries offer Book Club Kits for check out to area book clubs. Each kit contains 10 copies of a book and a reading guide.

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Book Summary

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, step inside Mosco’s Traveling Wonder Show, a menagerie of human curiosities and misfits guaranteed to astound and amaze! But perhaps the strangest act of Mosco’s display is Portia Remini, a normal among the freaks, on the run from McGreavy’s Home for Wayward Girls, where Mister watches and waits. He said he would always find Portia, that she could never leave. Free at last, Portia begins a new life on the bally, seeking answers about her father’s disappearance. Will she find him before Mister finds her? It’s a story for the ages, and like everyone who enters the Wonder Show, Portia will never be the same.

Discussion Questions

1.      What does it mean to be “wayward?” Who is wayward in this story?

2.      Why is storytelling so important to Portia? Why does her Aunt Sophia dislike Portia’s stories?

3.      Why did Portia’s father leave? Do you believe he really intended to come back for Portia?

4.      Describe Aunt Sophia. Why did she choose to send Portia to McGreavey Home for Wayward Girls?

5.      Describe Mister. Why does he keep McGreavey Home open? Does he care about the girls? Is he good or evil?

6.      Why does Portia feel responsible for Caroline’s death? Is she actually responsible?

7.      How does the concept of judgment come into play in Wonder Show? Which characters are the subject of judgment and why? Who is judging them?

8.      Why would people with physical differences allow themselves to be displayed in a sideshow? Is it degrading to them if they are willing participants?

9.      Did your perception of who is “normal” and who the “freaks” are change as you read Wonder Show? How?

10.  Why is it so important to Portia to find out what happened to her family?

11.  How does Portia’s thinking change when she learns the truth about her family?

12.  Does Portia’s definition of “family” change by the end of the story? If so, how?

13.  The author tells the story through multiple points of view, giving many of the characters a chapter or two in their own voice. Did you like this style of writing? Why or why not?

14.  What would draw people to attend a freak show like the one featured in Wonder Show?

15.  Why do you think circus sideshows like the one featured in Wonder Show have disappeared?