Book Club Beat – When Crickets Cry

Welcome to Book Club Beat, where book clubs share about their discussions.

Book club name and/or location: Bibliovores, northern California

Title and Author: When Crickets Cry by Charles Martin

What it’s about:

From the back cover… “It begins on the shaded town square in a sleepy Southern town. A spirited seven-year-old has a brisk business at her lemonade stand. But the little girl’s pretty yellow dress can’t quite hide the ugly scar on her chest. The stranger understands more about it than he cares to admit. And the beat-up bread truck careening around the corner is about to change the trajectory of both their lives.”

Were discussion questions available? Were they helpful?

They were available on the publisher’s website. We found the questions rather…odd, but we had no trouble keeping discussion flowing.

What we liked about the book:

We all loved Martin’s gorgeous prose and his fascinating characters. Reese’s pain is deep, and his secret keeps him in a stranglehold, but Annie’s sweet and spunky spirit changes him. Annie is well-drawn—cute and funny and precocious, but firmly believable. The side characters are a delight—especially Charlie, Termite, and Monk. I really enjoyed the story structure, how Reese’s past story with his wife Emma unfolds in parallel with the current story with little Annie. We were all impressed with the author’s research into heart surgery.

Anything we would change about the book?

Many of us found the ending abrupt and a bit confusing and had to flip back and re-read to figure it out.

Fun connections (did the story inspire food, decorations, etc.?):

Oh yes. We enjoyed smoothies and lemonade and hamburgers off the grill, all mentioned in the story. Our hostess decorated the table with plastic crickets and a placard with the book’s theme Bible verse printed on it.

Deep connections (this story made us think about the following discussion topics):

Actually, for this book, our discussion mainly revolved around the characters and their quirks and motivations, rather than delving into our own lives. We did stray onto many conversational rabbit trails though. We love those rabbit trails!

Do you recommend this book for other book clubs?

Yes. If your group enjoys novels with a more “literary” feel, this is an excellent choice.

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