Skip to main content

Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

The Whole Way Home

1. “[Jo] made music just for them, to make them feel like their experience as women was represented in country music, to give them a living heart in a song.” Do you experience country music --- or any music --- this way? Which singers make you feel the way Jo aims to make her audience feel?

2. What purpose does Floyd Masters serve in this novel? Who’s he talking to?

3. J. D. lives in a modern, $12 million estate with all the bells and whistles --- and an entourage of his bandmates as roomies. Jo, by contrast, lives alone in an Arts and Crafts bungalow near downtown Nashville that she restored to its historic look. What do their houses say about them and where they are in their lives? Why did they choose those homes?

4. Rob, J. D.’s bandmate, observes, “As the paychecks had grown larger, the quality of their music had shrunk. He knew it. They knew it. How come they never talked about it in a serious way? Did they think J. D. was satisfied? That the money was enough?” What do you think? How does this contrast with Jo’s decisions to stick to her own songwriting, and a less spectacular career?

5. Marie, Jo’s faithful assistant, “couldn’t understand why Jo would betray Nick and risk losing all his love and devotion. What could she possibly be missing that J. D. could give her?” Is Marie right? What do you make of Jo’s relationship with Nick? Was she right to break off their engagement?

6. Did Jo’s mother make the right decision to raise Isabell as her own, rather than let people know that she was Jo’s daughter? What would you have done if you’d been her? Or Jo?

7. “Country music was for people who hurt. Singing country songs allowed [Jo] to tell a story, and she could escape and be somebody else for a little while through a song…. Country music was her healing.” Do you agree? Do you think Jo could have become as talented and famous as she did if she hadn’t suffered the way she had?

8. What do you make of Denver and Alan’s decision to walk away from a potentially lucrative recording deal? Would you have done the same? What do you think will happen to the Flyby Boys as a result?

9. Was Jo right to name Travis Goode as her rapist and make the whole story public at a press conference? What effect do you think that had on her hometown? Would you have chosen differently?

The Whole Way Home
by Sarah Creech

  • Publication Date: February 27, 2018
  • Genres: Fiction, Women's Fiction
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
  • ISBN-10: 0062409301
  • ISBN-13: 9780062409300