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Book Club Discussion Questions

for THE TAKEAWAY MEN

I love book clubs! In fact, I’m a member of two and would join more if I had the time. There’s nothing better than discussing a good book with intelligent and insightful friends. I’ve prepared some sample questions for your group about The Takeaway Men. I am hoping my novel will raise more questions than answers – about history and the present. If your book club is geared to a particular demographic, e.g., Baby Boomers, Children/Grandchildren of Holocaust Survivors, Sisterhood, etc., I will be happy to tailor additional questions and topics of discussion for your particular area of interest. In addition, I would love to interact with your book club, either in person or through Skype.

  1. The Takeaway Men explores the impact of immigration, identity, prejudice, anti-Semitism, and the shadow of the Holocaust on parents and children in mid-Twentieth Century America. Why do you think these issues still garner so much interest today? Which ones are most important to you?
  2. What, in your opinion, are the most damaging secrets and lies in the book? Why?
  3. Did Aron commit a sin, as he believed, or did he have no other choice than to conceal Judy’s identity?
  4. In the early ‘50s, what were the main cultural and political themes? How did these impact Bronka and JoJo and their parents?
  5. How did Aron equate Lenore’s arrest by the FBI with his family’s experience in Nazi-occupied Poland? Why was he so upset by the execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg?
  6. Compare and contrast Aron Lubinski and Jakob Zilberman in their approach to their experiences during the Holocaust and their desire to have Jewish children to avenge Hitler.
  7. What effect did secrecy have on the lives of the twins? On Mindy?
  8. How do the twins’ differing reactions to the Tiny Tears doll exemplify their fundamental differences?
  9. How were Bronka and JoJo alike and how were they different?
  10. Do you think the twins are Jewish girls? What about their mother?
  11. What do you think about the principal’s reaction to Deborah Cohen telling her class about the Holocaust?
  12. Was Roy Smith AKA Rudolf Schmidt correct in his justification of his role –- and Jakob’s — at Auschwitz? Why? Why not?
  13. What effect did Aunt Becky’s mental illness have on the girls? Could Faye have handled her daughter differently?
  14. Did Judy take too long to tell her daughters about her background?
  15. Do you think she could have had a different relationship with her husband?
  16. Was Judy a Righteous Gentile, a practicing Jew or both?
  17. How do you think the parents’ revelations will affect the family in the long run?
  18. Why is the little known story of the Kielce Pogrom in 1946 important in the story? Why is it important today?