Keep Quiet: Questions for Book Clubs

  1. At heart, KEEP QUIET is about a parent who makes a mistake. Have you ever made a mistake, as a parent? If you did, do you understand why it happened? Jake Buckman made the mistake because he wanted to protect his child, and because he wants to make up for not having spent enough time with him in the past. He says yes to his son when he should have said no. Jake knows he has made a mistake as soon as he makes it, but he cannot unmake it. Can you imagine being in that kind of a bind? Have you ever been?
  2. Jake made his split-second decision in an emergency, with the intention of saving his son. How do you react in emergencies? Are you cool and calm under pressure, or do you get flustered? Who do you lean on in emergencies? What do you think you would have done in Jake’s position?
  3. Jake and Ryan’s relationship suffered because Jake was working so many hours to build his business. What do you think motivated Jake to work so hard? Was he creating a fiscally sound base for his family, or was he feeding his own need to be successful? Either way, is there anything wrong with what he did? How do you think Jake’s own childhood contributed to his view of what it meant to be a good dad?
  4. Although Pam is closer to Ryan, she is not a perfect parent either. What mistakes do you think she made, and do you understand why she made them? Did you like her? Why or why not? How would you describe her, and do you view her as a helicopter mom? Is that a bad thing? Do you think the closeness that Pam and Ryan shared sometimes squeezed Jake out of the picture? What responsibility, if any, do Pam and Ryan have for Ryan’s relationship with Jake?
  5. Do you think any of the decisions that Pam and Jake made would have been different if Jake were not an only child? How does having other children in the home influence your parenting practices? What kind of pressure comes with being an only child? Do you have siblings? If so, in what ways do you think your life would have been different if you were an only child, or if you came from a family full of children?
  6. Ryan spends much of his free time playing or practicing basketball, and you can feel the pressure on him, whether perceived or real, to perform. Youth sports today is no longer just recreational. Between travel teams, tournament teams and private training, do you think parents today have lost perspective on the importance and/or the benefits of being part of a youth sports team? Do you think it is harmful or beneficial for the kids? Are parents too heavily invested emotionally in the success of their children when it comes to sports or any other youth activities? Do you think kids are learning the right life lessons that should come from youth sports?
  7. What punishment do you think Ryan deserved? Did he deserve to go to jail? How do you think the justice system would have handled Ryan’s case? Does the punishment always fit the crime? Teenagers make stupid mistakes. In a way, we are expecting them to. Who was more responsible for what happened, Jake or Ryan? Should Jake have faced jail time?
  8. Although they say it takes a village to raise a child, what rights do other adults have to parent your child? Do you think Dr. Dave overstepped his bounds in trying to help Ryan? Have you ever had a parent reprimand your child inappropriately? Did you say anything? How do you speak to your child without undermining the authority of adults?