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One Part Angelby George Shaffner
Reading Group Guide
1. What does the title One Part Angel mean to you? Which characters in this book could be aptly described by the books title?
2. Why do you think that George Shaffner begins this book in media res-that is, in the middle of things? In your opinion, what was the most surprising thing that had happened in Ebb since Vernon Moore had left town? How is the town changed? How is it still an “oasis of nice”?
3. Why do you think Vernon returns to Ebb so unexpectedly? Do you think that the townspeople were awaiting his return? What do you think is Vernons most admirable quality? How is he otherworldly? In which ways is he a typical man?
4. On page 87, Vernon says, “Between here and history, chance is all there is.” What do you think he means by that assertion? How do the events that unfold in the book support that statement? How do you think this forms a theme of the book?
5. Why do you think that Wilma waits for her “perpetual ﬁancŽ,” Clem Tucker? Why do you think Clem elects to sell off his holdings in the town? What do you think his master plan for the town might be? Do you think the Quilting Circles opinion of him changes from the beginning of this book to its conclusion? How about Wilmas attitude toward Clem?
6. Vernon sets out to teach Matt a code of conduct. How does he succeed in doing so? Can you give an example from your own life of how adherence to a code of conduct can make the world a better place?
7. Vernon Moore describes belief as the gray area between fact and delusion. Do you agree or disagree with this deﬁnition? How does reliance on belief spur problems in the town of Ebb? In the world today?
8. How do Matts mother and grandmother cope with his actions toward Loretta? How are their coping mechanisms similar and different? How about Marks reaction to his familys tumult? How are the two brothers different? What do you expect to see from them both in the future?
9. In which ways is Matt a typical teenager? What about Reverend Gaults religion might appeal to Matt? How is Reverend Gault himself an imposing ﬁgure? How is he easily ridiculed
10. At ﬁrst, Matt refuses to disclose his accomplices in the attack on the Bold Cut because he wants to protect “me and mine.” How does this noble impulse have bad ramiﬁcations? What do you think you would do in a similar situation?
11. One of the questions Vernon asks Matt is whether life is an individual sport, a team sport, or both. How would you answer this question? How does the answer to this question inform Matts own actions-and more broadly, how does it inform world events?
12. When Loretta comes back from the dead, the town regards Vernon as a miracle worker. What is your opinion of how she is revived? Do you think that Vernon would ever come back to stay with her and Laverne? Why or why not?
13. Vernon says that strength requires selﬂessness (page 288). Describe how different characters in this novel display strength in the face of adversity. How do those who are strong also display courage and intellect?
14. Do you think that the Quilting Circle makes the right decision by buying part of the store, but not of the bank? What do you think prompts their choice? How does the Quilting Circle function as a business entity within the town? How does it form an informal governing body of Ebb?
15. At the end of the book, Vernon says that the “chickens are coming home to roost.” In your opinion, does everyone get what he or she deserves at the novels conclusion? Were you surprised by anything that transpired?
16. George Shaffner has said that this is the second in a three-book series. From the conclusion of this book, what do you imagine will be front and center in the next novel? Which characters do you most want to hear more about?
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