Reading Group Guide to Accompany My Forthcoming Novella
The protagonist of the story is a seventeen-year-old girl, but the author is a man who is almost forty. Do you think that a forty-year-old man should be allowed to write about a teenage girl? Do you think the author knows any teenage girls in real life? Do you think the novella might have been better if the author had consulted one or more of them?
The story is a legal caper of sorts. Would you be surprised to learn that the author is a lawyer? Would you be surprised to learn that he was considered by his peers to be a good lawyer? Do you think the author is a good writer? Do you think you could have written a better book?
According to a popular online encyclopedia that anyone can edit, a “novella” is a “written prose narrative longer than a short story but shorter than a novel.” Do you think that the author set out to write a novella, or rather realized at some point that he didn't have the material for a full novel and just wrapped things up at 40,000 words?
The author chose to sell the novella as an eBook, for just $2.99. Would you have been willing to pay more than that? Now that you have read the work, would you be willing to send the author another two or three dollars? What if you can pay via PayPal?
The story features no teenage vampires, teenage zombies, teenage wizards, teenage robots, or teenage dinosaurs. Were you at all disappointed by the absence of any or all of these things?
The character Stuart Gordon likes to ask his dates, “If you could be any candy bar for one day... what day would it be?” What’s your answer to this question? What do you like to ask your dates? What else do you like to do on dates? Are you currently dating now? Do you have a recent photo of yourself?
The author once said, while looking out a window on a snowy night, “That sounds like it would smell like an owl.” What do you think he meant by that? Would your answer change if you knew that he had not been drinking?
In early drafts of the novella, the main character was named Holly. Why do you think the author changed her name to Ivy? Do you like your own name? Have you ever thought about changing your name? To what? Why haven’t you? Are you chicken?
The author studied writing with no fewer than five well-respected authors. What do you imagine he was daydreaming about while they were teaching?
How about just one dollar? Would you be willing to send me another one dollar now? Please?
Matthew David Brozik wrote this and many other short humor pieces, which have been published in print and online by The New Yorker, Adult Swim, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Grin & Tonic, The Big Jewel, and no one.