Want to read Beneath the Wild Blue in your book club?
Marian loves book clubs, so she crafted a few questions you can answer
as your book club reads through her historical fiction novel.
Note: These questions will contain spoilers. Please wait until you have finished the book to read on.
1. Many reviews refer to the book as a glimpse inside the challenges of a military family. How are the Stoddards like most families in mid-century America, and how are they different? How does Joe’s military career affect the family’s challenges and opportunities?
2. Each member of the Stoddard family has a viewpoint in the novel. In your opinion, what family member has the strongest voice? Why?
3. Military families are always prepared to lose their service member, to send him or her to war, to expect long separations because of duty assignments. Were the Stoddards, then, more or less prepared to lose a child? How did the loss affect Joe’s career, Fritzi’s outlook, and each of the surviving children?
4. Debby is a complex character, seen by other family members as somewhat needy, weak and annoying. In your opinion, was her religious vision real, imagined, or simply a cry for help and attention?
5. Rand and Linda see themselves as the “O.G.’s”, the original, older two of the Stoddard children. How did they bond as siblings? How did their relationship change over time?
6. Why was Fritzi dissatisfied with her life in Montrose? She had privilege, wealth, and status. What more was she looking for? Did she find it in her life with Joe?
7. Why do you think Rand stayed in Canada? If given the choice, do you think he would have joined the Armed Services like his father? Why or why not?
8. Which of the Stoddard children do you think had the happiest life as an adult?
9. Motherhood is a theme woven throughout the novel. Was Fritzi a good mother? In what ways?
10. What do you suppose held Fritzi and Joe together during the most difficult times?
11. One of the themes in the book was the absence of racism in the military, even during the struggle for Civil Rights. Discuss.