The Pecan Man
by Cassie Dandridge Selleck
Discussion Questions:
1. This novel was very much about perspectives and how things look different depending on where you stand. How did Ora Lee Beckworth's perspective change over the course of twenty-five years and when did those changes begin?

2. Why is Ora Lee not able to remember her life with Walter?

3. Was Ora Lee really kind to Eddie? Did she have an ulterior motive? Does it matter?

4. Does Eddie really think he’ll have to get justice because he’s innocent? Why does he later change his mind?

5. Why does Ora Lee believe “we were partially to blame” for losing Grace?

6. Why does Ora Lee decide not to bury her lie with Eddie, “no matter what the cost”?

7. Why doesn't Ora Lee tell Grace the truth after her mother dies?

8. According to the story, what good does it do to learn right from wrong if we fail to insist on doing the right thing?

9. Why did Ora Lee let the Pecan Man take the blame for the murder of the rapist when she knew the real killer was Blanche’s son, Marcus?

10. What impact did skin color have on Blanche at birth and as a mother?

11. How much did Harley O'Dell (Poopsie) know about the murder?

12. What caused Marcus's auto accident? Why wasn't the author specific about this? Is there such a thing as a good lie? Is the truth always the best option?

13. No matter how good Blanche's intentions, or how much she believed there was no way to get justice for her daughter, the fact is Gracie was pretty much pushed aside. Why do you think Blanche did what she did?

14. What, if anything, does the barber's chair symbolize? Why is that detail important to the story?

15. Why didn't Ralph Kornegay cause any more trouble after Ora Lee's phone call to him?

16. What do you think is the overall message of the story?

17. Why did Chip Smallwood continue to look after Eddie? What was his character motivation? How do you know?

18. What did Ora Lee learn about herself? About bias? About privilege?

(Discussion Questions by Author)

Book Club Talking Points:
This is a story about racism in the 1970s South. It's also about friendships that step outside the boundaries of color and the true meaning of family - it's not just about those who share the same parents or bloodlines. The author addresses prejudice, revenge and bravery as well as many moral issues. Excellent book club pick.

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