discussion questions for book groups
1. The title MAN OF THE YEAR refers to Howie Gordon and his quest to win the award that Playgirl readers bestow on their favorite centerfold. But is Howie the only man of the year in the book?
2. MAN OF THE YEAR explores different types of masculinity. How would you describe them, and which characters embody which qualities?
3. Howie (Mr. November) is a pot-smoking male centerfold in an open marriage who ultimately goes on to star in more than 100 adult films. Is he a good role model?
4. People Magazine called MAN OF THE YEAR "hilarious and poignant," which was the funniest part for you and which was the most poignant? Did any parts of the story make you laugh out loud? Cry?
5. Salem, Massachusetts could almost be described as another character in this book. What did you make of the setting? What about the author's use of Nathaniel Hawthorne quotes to compare his own experience of the old New England city?
6. Lou is very much an outsider at the beginning of the book. Is he still as alienated by the end? What changed, if anything?
7. Were there any cringe-worthy moments for you, whether it was crude humor or secondhand embarrassment?
8. Which member of the family did you sympathize with most? Which did you dislike the most? Why?
9. There are lots of characters outside of the family as well- socialites, gay rights activists, etc. Did any of these characters stand out to you as favorites? Why?
10. MAN OF THE YEAR portrays the seventies in great detail. How was that era different from today? How was it similar?
11. The story takes place in the past, but the author writes about it in the present tense. Does this literary device help your experience of the book?