5 Questions: Mardi's Reader Discussion Guides

Bootstrapper: From Broke to Badass on a Northern Michigan Farm

1. Describe the connection the author had to her farmhouse and her few acres of land. Was it genuine?

2. What do you think some of the challenges might be for authors who write about their children? Did this author handle those challenges well? Why or why not?

3. What is the role of work - physical labor - in this memoir? What role do you think work will play in their lives as time passes?

4. What role did humor play in the story? How can suffering sometimes be funny?

5. Have you ever wanted to live on a farm? Contrast the rural dream with the reality of growing and raising your own food.

Wicked Takes the Witness Stand

1. After reading the book, what are your thoughts on guilt and innocence?

2. Why do you think Otsego County prosecutors continued to bring the accused men to trial, even after overwhelming evidence was uncovered about their innocence?

3. Have you or a member of your family ever been unjustly accused of a crime? If so, how did you deal with it?

4. Can a community ever come to terms with such a miscarriage of justice? If so, how?

5. What do you think happened to Jerry Tobias?


Isadore's Secret: Sin Murder and Confession in a Northern Michigan Town

1. Which character in this startling true story did you most relate to? Why?

2. Who do you think is responsible for Sister Janina's death?

3. If Father Andrew did not actually strike the murderous blow, did he still bear any responsibility for her death? Why or why not?

4. Did Stella receive a fair trial? Why or why not?

5. Why wasn’t Sister Janina given a proper funeral? What could be done today to remedy that tragic omission?

When Evil Came to Good Hart: An Up North Michigan Cold Case

1. Who do you think killed the Robison family? What was their motive?

2. If Joe Scolero was the killer, why do you think he decided not to confess to the crime, even in his suicide note?

3. Richard Robison had a secret life, and several people who knew him well described him as "strange." Does this make him any less sympathetic to you as the victim of a violent crime?

4. Consider Shirley Robison. What do you think her life was like? What kind of person was she?

5. What role did the remoteness of Good Hart, Michigan play in the police investigation?