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The Book of Ruth


The Book of Ruth Cover

ISBN13: 9780385265706
ISBN10: 0385265700
Condition: Standard
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Reading Group Guide

1. Ruth's story is particularly poignant because of the way she conveys so much that is beyond her understanding. What are the differences between what Ruth tells us and what we infer about her life and the people in it? How does Hamilton achieve this?

2. How do you respond to Ruth's naiveté? Is her lack of understanding about the people in her life frustrating? Or does her innocence make her a more sympathetic character?

3. May is in many ways a monstrous character in Ruth's life. What about her is human and invokes our sympathy? Are there any similarities between May and Ruth?

4. How does Ruth get caught between May and Ruby? Does Justy's birth improve the situation for her at all?

5. Daisy seems comfortable in the world of the novel, even while she remains distinct and apart from everyone in that world. How is her friendship important to Ruth? Is she as well-drawn as the other characters in the book?

6. The Book of Ruth's climax is hinted at throughout the novel. What effect does this type of foreshadowing have on your reading? Does it add to or diminish the impact of the events when they finally occur?

7. Is Ruth's attitude toward Ruby justified at the end of the book?

8. Compare the characters of Aunt Sid in The Book of Ruth and Aunt Kate in A Map of the World. Do they serve the same function for Ruth and Alice?

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

PrincessJaylia, September 21, 2011 (view all comments by PrincessJaylia)
This book took my breath away. I enjoyed the characters and setting. It is one of those books that is hard to put down.
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joaneh, May 4, 2008 (view all comments by joaneh)
This book of Jane Hamilton's "The Book of Ruth", is even better than her "A Map of the World". It is a bare bones look at the sad, yet humorous life of a young girl in a small town as she comes of age in total innocence. The small town characters are well-developed and believable. It was a very good read.
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(13 of 21 readers found this comment helpful)
gingersnaps15, June 7, 2007 (view all comments by gingersnaps15)
I reread this book at least twice a year. Ruth is prtrayed as a homely dreamer who turns out to have a lot more going on than people suspected. All the characters, while not symapthetic people, are given touches of beauty where you can see how they are not all bad. The descriptions Ruth gives are marvelous, and this book turned me on to other great Jane Hamilton novels. This is one of my favorites
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(16 of 23 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

Hamilton, Jane
Anchor Books
New York :
General Fiction
Family saga
Literature-A to Z
fiction;novel;oprah s book club;abuse;illinois;american;poverty;family;literature;20th century;midwest;mothers and daughters;contemporary fiction;american literature;contemporary;literary fiction;women;american fiction;relationships;domestic fiction;murde
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Oprah's Book Club (Paperback)
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
8 x 5.1 x 0.7 in 0.55 lb

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Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
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The Book of Ruth Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$1.95 In Stock
Product details 336 pages Anchor Books/Doubleday - English 9780385265706 Reviews:
"Review" by , "An extraordinary story of a family's disintegration....Will be compared to Jane Smiley's A Thousand Acres. Astonishingly vivid and moving."
"Review" by , "An enthralling tale of guilt, betrayal, and the terrifying ways of our lives."
"Review" by , "Unforgettably, beat by beat, Hamilton maps the best and worst of the human heart and all the mysterious, uncharted country in between."
"Review" by , "An American beauty this book....The narrator of Jane Hamilton's sensational first novel is a holy lusty innocent."
"Synopsis" by , Winner of the 1989 PEN/Hemingway Foundation Award  for best first novel, this exquisite book  confronts real-life issues of alienation and violence  from which the author creates a stunning testament  to the human capacity for mercy, compassion and  love.
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