Synopses & Reviews
Tall, dark, and handsome, Prodigy Banks was once a playboy. Now hes a man any mother would be proud to call her son, and when he meets Nina, the mother of the young boy he mentors, it seems that life is going to get even better. But when his past threatens his newfound respectability, Prodigy has to act fast to protect his new relationship.
Bernard Charles is haunted by childhood memories of abandonment and poverty. His workaholic ways frustrate his wife, Diane, and leave her vulnerable to another mans advances. After her betrayal, will Bernard move on or move out?
Winston “Poppa Doc” Fuller has a fix for whats ailing the younger generation. Married for more than forty years to his beloved Ethel, Winston brings healing to everyone he touches. Yet despite his best efforts, he hasnt been able to reach his own thirty-three-year-old son—a situation that soon requires urgent resolution, because as Poppa Doc tells his son: “I love you, but Im not proud of you. Make me proud of you before I leave this earth.”
In his marvelous debut novel, Travis Hunter has crafted a tale that is funny, sexy, and touching—revealing what it truly means to have the heart of a man.
Tall, dark, and handsome, Prodigy Banks goes from being a ladies' man with a shady past to being a man any mother would be proud to call her son. But when his past life of gratuitous sex and violence threatens his newfound respectability, decisions need to be made. Will he make a man's choice or a boy's guess?
Bernard Charles is haunted by childhood memories of abandonment and poverty. His workaholic ways and desire to provide his family with all the material things he didn't have frustrate his wife, Diane, and leave her vulnerable to another man's advances. After her betrayal, will Bernard move on or move out?
Winston "Poppa Doc" Fuller has a fix for what's ailing the younger generation. His wisdom brings healing to everyone he touches, yet he hasn't been able to reach his own thirty-three-year-old son. After Poppa Doc is stricken with lung cancer, his only wish is that his son will become a man before Poppa Doc leaves this earth.
Newcomer Travis Hunter has crafted a tale that is funny, sexy, and touching about three men at very different points in their lives and what it truly means to have the heart of a man.
About the Author
Travis Hunter is an author, songwriter, and motivational speaker. He lives in an Atlanta suburb with his son, Rashaad. He is the founder of The Hearts of Men Foundation, through which he mentors underprivileged children. He is currently working on his second novel, Married but Still Looking.
Reading Group Guide
The questions and discussion topics that follow are intended to enhance your groups reading of Travis Hunters The Hearts of Men. We hope they will provide new insights and ways of looking at this funny and moving novel.
1. After Prodigy sleeps with his new coworker, Gina, he tells her that a woman who sleeps with many men is judged by a different standard than a man who does the same thing. Are there different standards for men and women? Does Prodigy believe in them? Does Bernard judge Dianes brief affair with her pastor more harshly because of this?
2. The antipathy Bernard feels for Prodigy is rooted in his role in the theft of Bernards car some time ago. Bernard persists in punishing him even though Poppa Doc has forgiven him. Is Bernard right? Why does Poppa Doc forgive Prodigys transgressions? Is it possible to make wrongs right again?
3. Prodigy, Jermaine, and Bernard all grew up without fathers in their lives. How does their lack of father figures affect their ability to become successful fathers? Even with a strong father, Michael Þnds it difficult to accept responsibility for his own children. Why is this?
4. For much of his past, Prodigy has dated all the wrong women, including his married boss. It is only when he decides to stop dating that he encounters a woman who seems right for him. How is Nina different from Gina or Simone? Has Prodigy changed what he wants in a woman?
5. In some ways Bernard could not change or forgive his wife until he found his mother and let his childhood go. Likewise, Prodigy could not change his life until he gave up crime and encountered Poppa Doc. Would these personal transformations have occurred without Poppa Doc or Susan? What is Hunter saying about parents or parental figures here?
6. Poppa Doc and his wife disagree on how much they should support their son; Poppa Doc thinks that theyve spoiled Michael and that he should learn the hard lessons of self-reliance. Why does his wife find it so hard to let go? How do parents help and hinder their children? What are the differences between mothers and fathers?
7. Bernard is trying so hard to compensate for his own childhood that he often loses sight of what is important to his family. Did his own childhood affect his ability to be a father and a husband? Is his bitterness toward his mother and his childhood justified?
8. When Prodigys cousin Jermaine comes to Atlanta for a break from fast-paced Philadelphia, Prodigy tries to influence him in a more positive direction. In some ways, Jermaines presence reminds Prodigy of who he used to be. Is Prodigy successful in helping him? What does Prodigy come to realize about himself and how he has changed?
9. Poppa Doc is the father figure Prodigy never had, and it is a role Prodigy steps into for Blake. How important are fathers and role models? What changes do we see in Blake after Prodigy comes into his life? What does Prodigy provide that his mother cannot?
10. Diane is so angry with Bernard because he doesnt spend enough time with her or their child that she seeks fulfillment elsewhere. Is Diane right? Is she justified in challenging Bernard to be home more? Does Bernard bear any of the blame for her actions?
11. In many ways, The Hearts ofMen is about men growing and accepting more responsibility in their lives. When Poppa Doc gives his sermon about respect and responsibility, he challenges the men to become real fathers to their children and good husbands to their wives. Do men lack responsibility and respect in real life? What about women?