Hannibal Free Public Library

The Red Garden

Alice Hoffman

March 25, 2013

2:30 – 4:00 p.m.


1. What is the symbolic significance of the red garden at the center of this collection of stories? And why red? 

2. Consider the town of Blackwell as a character. How does it change over time?

3. What are some of the themes that tie these stories together. Consider, say, love and loss, or connection of the present with the past. How are those—and other—ideas developed?

4. Follow-up to Question 3: What is the idea behind the bear? 

5. Many of the stories are concerned with the human connection to the natural world. How does it change over time in this book? Or does it change?

6. What about Hoffman's blending of fictional characters with real historical figures—the appearance of Emily Dickenson and Johnny Appleseed. Why might she have incorporated them into her story? For what purpose?

7. Of the 14 stories, which story do you like most? Which do you find most intriguing ... or magical ... or moving? Do any disappoint you?

8. What passages of particular beauty, or keen insight, struck you as you read this book?

Adapted from:   http://beadsforbusygals.blogspot.com/2011/05/bfbg-book-club-questions-for-red-garden.html