The Underground

Readers’ Guide

  1. How does the novel’s title relate to the story line?

  2. The opening paragraph reads:
    “This is how it was supposed to have happened. I have no reason to doubt my father’s version of the story, my life’s story, actually. I never really doubted him. My father’s core was real. It was the margins that sometimes got a little frayed.”
    What does Lisa mean by that?

  3. Did Detective Mallory make the connection between Lisa and her mother during her first interview?

  4. Why do you feel Lisa was so compelled to uncover her life story?

  5. Why do you think Peter never told Lisa about his half-brother?

  6. Did Lisa overreact in her relationship with Brad, or were they ill suited for each other at a more fundamental level?

  7. Was Peter truly a good father to Lisa? In what ways was he a positive influence? In what ways did he fall short?

  8. Did Lisa learn anything more about her mother from Daisy Ruger, the seamstress, other than where Lisa’s mother might have been from?

  9. Why did Lisa have such a difficult time adjusting to her new family at first?

  10. What was the impact of the sweat lodge on Lisa?

  11. “Sometimes a person finds truth between the lines,” Luke said to Lisa. What did he mean by that?

  12. At one point Lisa says:
    “But the truth is that I write because I can’t fathom life without it, without words pouring from my soul to populate the empty pages or screens that I feel compelled to fill. That’s selfish, I know.”
    Do you feel that Lisa was selfish?

  13. What did Luke mean when he said to Lisa: “It’s not an easy path you walk.”?

  14. Do you agree with Luke’s comment? “Once the story leaves the teller’s mouth, each listener hears it differently.”

  15. “He didn’t do it, Lees.” Do you agree with Mallory’s assessment?

  16. For Lisa the “real” story she uncovered was of a mother’s love and a father’s devotion. What do you feel is the real story?

  17. In your life history, what is the story that you would tell around the fire circle?