CV Offline Summer Book Club: Month Two

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With June’s arrival, it’s official: summer brain has set in. The days slow down and we long for lazy afternoons on the beach or on a porch swing with a glass of iced tea.

So when you find yourself there, we hope you’ll have this book for company. While it is a quick read, the story contained within is far from trivial. Jon Hassler’s Staggerford is a rich tale that chronicles one week in the life of 35-year-old bachelor and high school English teacher Miles Pruitt.

Staggerford is a small-town in Minnesota, a simple setting for a cast of colorful characters that fill the young school teacher’s life in a way that is anything but dull. Born and raised a Catholic, Miles has generally fallen away from the faith, though his elderly landlady and former second-grade teacher, Miss McGee, is doing her best to bring him back. Perched on the edge of a Native American reservation, the book gives readers a glimpse into eccentric town politics, a tense relationship with the reservation, humorously thwarted romances, poverty, scandal, and — most of all — hope.

Click here to get the book!

A few things to notice as you read:

  • Hassler’s unique writing style. For example, the author frequently uses repetition in dialogue and journal-style writing. Why does he do this? Do you think it is effective?
  • Miles slowly reads his students’ “What I Wish” papers over the course of the week. What is the significance of this?
  • Notice how Hassler allows the reader to get to know his characters. Some characters are developed, and others are relatively flat. Are these strategic choices?  
  • The book takes place around, and even acknowledges, All Soul’s Day. How does this theme guide your reading of the book?

Join us for this quick read!

We’ll check back in a few week with more thoughts on the book! Feel free to post below with comments or questions.

The views expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of CatholicVote.org

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