PART 1 — The Shack



  1. As you can tell, I like maps. What does “The Becker Farm, 1989” do for you or not do for you as a reader?
  2. These days, many books and movies begin with intense action right up front. Yet, Chapter 1 opens on a much quieter scene with some background and memories swirled in. Is this the best beginning for the story? Where would you have preferred the story to begin?
  3. The family farmhouse known to the Beckers as The Shack is practically a character in and of itself. Who does The Shack remind you of and why?
  4. The Becker grandparents story doesn’t always follow a strictly chronological path — case in point, Anna’s 1931 letter to her mother while aboard the U.S.S. Grant. What are the advantages and disadvantages of “jumping around” in a family saga?
  5. The account of Young Joe Becker’s experiences trying to become a naval apprentice … and his subsequent run-in with Uncle Horst is about a 50/50 mixture of historical record and imagination. What is the value (if any) of weaving fact and fiction together like this? For the individual reader? For the wider public good?