Book Club Questions
1. Whenever Frank meets someone new he is asked where he is from. Do you know people who speak with a foreign accent? Have you asked them about their experiences as immigrants?
2. Frank’s parents chose to leave Germany when they were no longer considered citizens. Under what conditions, if any, would you leave your country?
3. Though they weren’t religious, Frank’s parents moved to Bat Yam, a more religious community where they sought out other secular Germans. Do you seek friendships with people of a similar background?
4. Though Frank grew up in the Middle East during WWII, he felt he had a peaceful, happy life. How did Frank’s parents shield him from political events? Have you ever protected your family from harsh realities? If so, how?
5. As a child, Frank showed early signs of strength and independence. How did these strengths help him overcome loss and hardships in his later life? How have you coped with loss?
6. Against Frank’s wishes, his grandmother brought the family together in America. How did this affect Frank’s life? What early experiences were forced upon you as a child? Have you ever imagined living permanently in a foreign country?
7. Frank maintained his childhood friendship with Chezzi. How were they able to stay close despite the physical and cultural differences? Have you sustained a close childhood friendship?
8. Frank goes back to his grandparents’ village to try to understand his life. Have you ever returned to an old neighborhood or researched the history of your relatives? Did you find the experience satisfying?
9. What is the difference between Frank’s childhood experience as an immigrant and your childhood experience? Do you know any children who are immigrants? Are they able to assimilate or do they cling to traditions from their original culture?
10. When Frank decided to find love a second time he searched for a Jewish woman with a German background. Do you think it is important for people in a relationship to have similar backgrounds?
11. Frank has always wanted to help save the land. Were you surprised that he settled on recycling machinery and sustainability as the focus of his career? What childhood dreams did you have and were you able to accomplish them?
12. Hilda was disappointed when Frank married a woman who wasn’t German. Why do you think she felt this way? Did you ever experience disappointment in your children’s choice of friends or a mate?
13. Frank’s grandfather and his dad were his heroes. Frank’s dad convinced him to earn a college degree before going back to Israel. Can you think of other ways in which his father and grandfather influenced him? Who are your heroes? Why?
14. At the end of the book Frank becomes friends with the Germans in Crivitz, Germany. Could you become friends with people who might have been involved in violence or discrimination against you and your family? What if those people were caught up in political movements against their will?
15. At the conclusion of the book Frank has created a blended family and developed new technology to help save the environment. Do you think his family values helped him forge his future?
16. America is a land of immigrants. Do you think Frank’s experiences are unique or does he parallel the life of many immigrants’ lives?
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