by Peter Rock
Peter Rock’s website
Questions for Study and Discussion
- In what ways did Caroline receive a good education at the hands of her father? In what ways was her education lacking?
- Several times Caroline reaches out to others. What do those incidents tell us about what kind of person Caroline is and what is important to her?
- What do you think is wrong with Caroline's father? What clues are there to determine his mental state?
- There are several homeless characters in the book. What do you think Peter Rock is trying to tell us about life for the homeless in the US?
- Why do you think Caroline's father decides to trust Paul and Susan?
- Is Caroline's "father" really her father? What evidence is there that casts doubt on his relationship to Caroline?
- Reflect on Caroline's life as an adult. Is she happy?
- Caroline's father suggests that they are living the life of a writer. Given that, what do you think the author is trying to say about a writer's life?
Below are more detailed questions related to each chapter.
- Early in the book Caroline’s father says, “Look carefully, Caroline. There’s a lesson here. It’s better homework than being in school, that’s for certain.” What types of things are better learned at home than in school?
- How old is Caroline? In what ways is she typical for her age? In what ways is she a typical?
- Describe where Caroline and her father live and what their daily life is like.
- What does Caroline’s encounter with Zachary tell you about her character?
- Who/what is Randy and why is he important to Caroline?
- Why do Caroline and her father go to town? How do they get money?
- How does Caroline’s father explain they are different from the homeless in the men’s camp?
- What happens at the end of the chapter that changes Caroline’s and her father’s life?
- How is Caroline treated by Miss Jean Bauer and the other police officers and social workers? Why do you think they are worried about her?
- How long had Caroline and her father been living in Forest Park?
- What happened to Caroline’s mother, according to her father?
- Caroline tells the social workers she was perfectly happy in the park. Do you believe her? Why or why not?
- Describe their new living situation on Mr. Walters’ land.
- What are some clues that Caroline’s father is becoming paranoid, or emotionally disturbed?
- What are some clues that Caroline is adjusting to her new life?
- Why do you think father wants to leave their new house?
- Do you think Caroline wants to leave? Why do you think as you do?
- Who is Vincent and what is his connection to Caroline’s father?
- How does Caroline feel when she thinks about her old life in a real house?
- What has happened to Valerie? What does this tell us about life for many of the homeless?
- What is strange about the way Father is acting in this chapter?
- Why does Father decide to get off the bus in the middle of the forest at nighttime?
- Who are Paul and Susan?
- Why do you think Caroline’s father trusts Susan?
- What does Susan end up doing to Caroline’s father?
- Compare Caroline’s life to the life of the teenagers she meets having a party in the cave.
- What has happened to Caroline’s father by the end of this chapter?
- Explain what Caroline remembers from when she is 10 years old in Boise. Do you believe Father’s story about who he really is?
- Caroline visits her foster parents’ home in Boise and says “They tried to hold on to me longer than they were supposed to, to make me be like them when I am not like them and have places to go.” How is Caroline like other people? How is she not like other people?
- Who is Della and what does Caroline think of her?
- Do you believe that Caroline’s father is her true father, and these were her foster parents? Defend your view.
- At the end of this chapter, some girls try to help Caroline. How can you tell that she is tempted to take their help? Why do you think she runs away?
- Describe Caroline’s life now.
- How does Caroline feel about her father? How do you know?
- Looking back, what do you think about Caroline’s father? Did he do a good job raising her?
- Do you think Caroline is happy? Explain.