1. This Tender Land is a coming of age book that has spirituality as one of its main theme. What did you think about the spiritual path of the book? Did you find it too much? Did it put you off?
2. Were you surprised that Albert, Odie and Mose agreed to bring Emmy along with them on their escape? Did you agree with that?
3. The Lincoln School was a boarding school for Native American children. Its primary purpose was to assimilate the Native American children to American culture. Odie and Albert were the only white boys in the school for Indians. Why do you think the author made the two brothers white?
4. “God is a tornado” is what Odie painted on the water tower before they left on their journey. Why did Odie do that? What does it mean? How does Odie’s relationship with God changes through the journey?
5. There were many themes in This Tender Land, such as friendship, brotherly love, family, god, cultural differences, alcoholism, and murder to name a few. Which theme impacted you the most?
6. After DiMarco died, Odie was glad. What did you think of Odie then? Did you think he would be forever affected by it?
7. Odie wrestled with God throughout the book. Why does Odie trust Sister Eve and not her partner Sid? What is likable about Sister Eve? How does Odie’s judgment of character affects those around him?
8. Do you think Albert changed after he was bitten by a rattlesnake? How did he change?
9. Through out the book, the story teller is Odie looking back and telling his story as he remembers it. He tells stories about an imp, a princess and vagabonds. What was the purpose of these stories? Did you enjoy the structure of the book?
10. When Albert, Odie, Mose and Emmy left the Lincoln School, they encountered the depression of the 1930s in the outside world. Do you think the author did a accurate job in portraying The Great Depression era?
11. The author drew on Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, and Homer for inspiration. Did This Tender Land remind you of those authors works? Which books came to mind?
12. Was Aunt Julia what you expected? What did you think would happen when Odie found her?
13. Were you surprised with the ending? Did you see it coming? Did you like it?
14. After reading This Tender Land, who would you recommend this book to?
Enhance Your Book Club:
Check out Summary of This Tender Land for a deeper look into the book and also for more conversation starters.
Enjoy this video of William Kent Krueger talking about This Tender Land and Ordinary Grace.