Book Club Sample Discussion Questions

  • What was your initial reaction to the book? Did it hook you right away or did it take some time to get in to it?
  • Was there a favorite quote or passage that you recall?
  • Did your opinion of Jake change throughout the story?
  • Do you think Jake would get a recommendation from the two churches he led?
  • What were his strengths as a pastor?
  • What were his weaknesses as a pastor?
  • Given his admission during the interviews, “I’m not good at visiting people,” what do you think his motivation was? Do you think Jake would accept that as a weakness he couldn’t overcome?
  • Had he not married Susan, what are the chances he would have been a successful pastor?
  • Is the change he underwent as a result of the events at the Billy Graham Rally realistic to you? Why or why not? Do you know of anybody who went through a similar transformation?
  • To the extent of his ability to do so, Jake was honest in his prayers. He even admitted to God that he may not want to change as far as his lust went. Then he added, “But, God, you know that.” How would most Christians regard this inconsistency?
  • Susan, though close to perfect, had struggles as well. Why did you think she held conflicted feelings towards Cy?
  • Do you think it’s fair that Jake would have treated Cy the same as JJ and Lindsay?
  • Were you happy to see Margie and Jake get together in the end?
  • NOBODY KNOWS doesn’t say whether Margie’s parents tried to keep their 16 year old daughter from Frankie Nazar, though he would have been 20 or 21. What’s your guess as to whether Cy and Alice would have attempted to do so?
  • Which of the following important leadership traits exercised at his carpet business may have translated to Jake’s success as a pastor?
    • Strong communicator.
    • Willing to work long hours where necessary.
    • Open to the ideas of others.
    • Non-judgmental and tolerant to people different than himself.
    • Able to motivate people by knowing what’s important to them.
    • Change advocate.
    • Knowledge of important business practices.
  • Which characters in the story did you like? Which did you dislike? Why?
  • Jake loved and liked both his sisters and his brother. The four “kids” got along well. His three siblings were proud of Jake’s business success. In life, are these relationships typical?
  • Mike was labeled “retarded” by many of the kids in school. Do you think he was “mentally challenged?”
  • Was DeeDee too good to be true? Does anyone have a sister who is as nice as DeeDee?
  • Do you recall what DeeDee said in one conversation about Parkinson’s Disease that caused Jake to say, “Somebody has to say it? Why do you think DeeDee’s comment annoyed Jake?
  • What did you think of Floyd Mann as a character in the book?
  • Why do you think Floyd Mann sought a close relationship with Jake?
  • Jake was Cyril’s the birth father. Cyril exhibited traits which makes it appear he was not as principled as Jake’s son, JJ. Jake does not criticize or even question Colleen and Roger’s parenting. Why does he not give at least some of the blame to Roger and Colleen?
  • What do you think of the comment, “Men are wired for propagation of the species. It’s like going to a museum, admire the photos, but don’t touch them or take them home.”
  • There’s an old saying, “You can tell a lot about a person by the individual who is regarded as his/her best friend.” What traits in Gary did Jake admire? Would you like Gary as our friend? Why?
  • How would you describe Jake’s relationship with his father?
  • How would you describe Jakes’s relationship with his mother?
  • When his mother entered into her relationship with the professor, did it surprise you that Jake liked him? What did Jake say about his politics and what topic did they mutually agree not to discuss?
  • How did you feel about the ending?