Discussion Questions – Cruel Beautiful World by Caroline Leavitt
- What do you think of the title – Cruel Beautiful World? How does this title capture the themes of the book?
- Leavitt’s novel is told from the points of view of five characters: Iris, Patrick, Charlotte, Lucy and William. Which of these character’s perspective do you relate to the most?
- How does the era in which the novel is set (the late 1960s and early 1970s) influence the themes of the book? How is this era similar to our modern era? What would be different if the book was set in 2017?
- Many of the characters in Cruel Beautiful World come to learn there are events we can control, some events we can prevent, and some events we simply have to accept. Which character evolved the most throughout the course of the book and learned the most as a result?
- Caroline Leavitt captures the many different types of love throughout the story, taking the reader through many variations including treacherous love, young love and friendship. How does love influence the character’s actions, motivations and beliefs throughout the novel?
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