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Book Club Reading Questions

Book Club Questions for Libertie by Kaitlyn Greenidge | WellRead’s August 2021 selection

Book Club Questions for Libertie by Kaitlyn Greenidge | WellRead’s August 2021 selection

WellRead’s August 2021 selection was Libertie by Kaitlyn Greenidge. A lush historical novel set in Reconstruction-era Brooklyn, full of the beauty, richness and detail of another time and place, filled with characters you can’t help rooting for. 

Use these discussion questions to engage with the book further, whether in a book club with friends, or just on your own as you digest the story. 

Reading questions for Libertie by Kaitlyn Greenidge: 

  • How did you feel about Libertie as a protagonist who often seemed to be her own worst enemy?

  • Libertie grew out of Kaitlyn Greenidge’s research about Dr. Susan Smith McKinney Steward and her daughter Anna. Although the characters take their origins from Steward and her daughter, Greenidge expands deeply on the historical record. Why do you think she chose to write this as fiction rather than nonfiction? How does that affect what you take away from the novel?

  • In an interview, Greenidge said that "one of the most profound questions for a lot of how people explain trauma to themselves". How does her book explore this?

  • What evidence of colourism do we read in the book?

  • The book makes use of letters between Libertie and her mother (epistolary narrative method). What other texts have you read that use this method and what do you think it achieves?

  • Do you think there are moments in the book when Libertie is truly free? Who would you consider to be the most free character? Based on what you read in Libertie, how would you define freedom?

  • Referring to the ending of the book, Greenidge said that she wanted Libertie's life "to feel open to a reader and to feel as if it could take any other direction that a reader could imagine for her". How did you respond to the ending and what did you imagine for Libertie's future?

Please note, these questions were written and distributed in August, 2021.