Welcome to the Discussion Post for Part 1 (Pages 2-59) of Stick by Andrew Smith.
1. Last month, we read In the Path of Falling Objects which had, as its protagonists, two brothers with quite an interesting relationship. A third brother, absent from the main story, was also involved. Here again, with Stick, the main characters are brothers. What do you think of their dynamic so far? Do you have any expectations for them individually, or for their relationship?
2. Stark “Stick” McClellan, our main character, is different in a few ways. First of all, although he is only 13 years old, he is already six feet tall – which is taller than his older brother. But, even more importantly, he has a physical deformity which impacts his every day life and relationships. The deformity is mirrored in the prose. Do you think this effective, so far? Are there other examples you can think of, from other books, where a main characters’ “something other” is somehow reflected in the book’s prose or structure?
3. The brothers seem pretty different – Bosten is pretty bold, he smokes pot, and seems like an easy-going guy, the kind people like to be around. Stick, on the other hand, is (understandably) more of an introvert. He hates even the smell of pot, and doesn’t seem like the biggest risk-taker in the world. Despite their differences, the brothers seem very close. Why do you think their relationship is so strong? Do you get the impression that their bond will survive anything?
4. Mom and Dad. They seem to be a pretty good team, themselves. But for different reasons. Right away, we get an “Us vs. Them” feeling, between the boys and the parents. When the boys come home late and walk into an onslaught of violence, Stick narrates: “Maybe once per week things exactly like this happened in our house.” Where do you think the anger comes from? Are there any hints about some deeper issues, or do you think, as Stick says, this is just the way things are done in their household?
5. And Emily. Friend? More than a friend? Her words seem to be saying one thing (Friend) but her actions seem to be hinting at a desire for more. We haven’t seen much, yet, but does this seem like it could be a good thing for Stick? Would a relationship with Emily be a healthy one? Or does this seem doomed to fail, from the start?
Can’t wait to see what you all think of this one, so far! I’ll reply with my own answers in a few days, after others have a chance to say what they think.
Don’t forget to check back next Saturday, when we will be discussing Part 2 (Pages 60-103).