The following discussion questions for “Cruddy” were created by our members Susie, Julie, and Lisa. We freely share our original discussion questions, but please consider including a credit and link to our website. Right now it appears these might be the only discussion questions on the internet for this book. We encourage your book club to read this book because it makes a great discussion!
- The author is a well-known cartoonist. Does her art background shape her writing style? In what way do the illustrations enhance the story?
- “The cruddy girl named Roberta was writing the cruddy book of her cruddy life and the name of the book was called Cruddy.” Why did Barry choose to tell the story in Roberta’s voice? Would you like to read the story from another character or the author’s point of view?
- Roberta’s father calls her Clyde and pretends she is his son. Doolie Bug is run over while wearing Marie Cardall’s clothes. Vicky’s father is called Susy Homemaker and wears a pink chenille woman’s robe. And then there is Gy-Rah, the Sequined Genius and poetry spouting six-peckered son of Doris. Why do you think Barry blurred the gender lines?
- “I’m Sorry” is carved and scarred down Roberta’s arm? She tells Stick she is not sorry. So why does she have the scar?
- The father said, “The monkey with the most meat wins.” A boy named Monkey tells Roberta the truth about Turtle. A sock monkey named Trina holds a secret stash of money and Little Debbie. A cliff-climbing circus man, Powder Monkey, steals Doris from Old Dad. What’s up with all the monkeys in this book?
- Roberta obsessed over trains and jumping in front of one. She had easy access to many weapons. What was so captivating about trains? Why couldn't she end her own life?
- So many people die around Roberta or because of Roberta. Which death did you find most memorable? Would you consider Roberta a sociopath? What about Ray? Do you think Roberta could kill someone she loved?
- Why do you think the mom shoved Roberta into the back seat of Ray’s car before he left for his road trip? Why did the father let her stay? How does Ray perceive Roberta?
- Ray felt betrayed by Old Dad after he sold the meat business, gave away three suitcases of money, and hung himself. Ray’s road trip was revenge for this betrayal. If Old Dad had given Ray the meat business instead, would he have become homicidal anyway at some point? Roberta’s mother betrayed Ray also. Why didn’t he kill her?
- Throughout the book Barry describes the unrelenting negative smells in disgusting places. How did this contribute to the story? Do you think it was a significant part of Roberta’s narrative?
- Do you think Roberta changes as the story progresses?
- Vicky is not interested in hearing Roberta’s story. She is the only one in the group of teens who doesn’t die or get hurt. Is there any meaning to this? Why does her brother, Stick, kill himself?
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Cruddy discussion questions are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.