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Book Club Questions for Redwood Court by DéLana R. A. Dameron

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redwood court book club questions

Book club questions for Redwood Court by DéLana R. A. Dameron explore the themes of family bonds and dynamics, Southern Black identity, and the intricate layers of coming of age in the 1990s.

This is a very powerful yet gentle book that will keep you thinking. The story is told mostly through Mika Tabor’s eyes, the youngest in a Southern Black family in Columbia, SC. Mika grows up hearing family stories, mostly from her grandparents, Weesie and Teeta. When she works on a school project, she realizes that Black family history is unique, and these stories passed down are crucial.

Let me know your thoughts about the novel! Feel free to comment below.

Redwood Court by DéLana R. A. Dameron

In this blog post you will find the discussion questions for Redwood Court by DéLana R. A. Dameron.

Book club questions may also prompt discussions about the dreams and aspirations of the characters, emphasizing the pursuit of their American dreams in a landscape that can be unforgiving, as well as the collective strength within the all-Black working-class suburb of Columbia, South Carolina, particularly on Redwood Court.

Have a wonderful book club discussion! ✨

About the Author | Book Club Questions

Additional Recommendations

About the Story

Redwood Court is a novel about a Southern Black family living in the 1990s, specifically focusing on the youngest daughter, Mika Tabor. The story is set in the all-Black working-class suburb of Columbia, South Carolina, on Redwood Court. Mika, the baby of the family, spends her time with loved ones, absorbing their stories and experiences.

The novel explores the lessons Mika learns from her parents, older sister, and grandparents, who bought their house on Redwood Court in the 1960s. It delves into the challenges faced by the family, the community they’ve built, and the resilience needed to pursue their American dreams. The narrative highlights the importance of visibility and celebrates the strength of ordinary people striving for success despite societal obstacles.

The story is about family, loyalty, and dealing with racism while Mika grows up in the 1990s. It reflects our own lives with both good and tough times, moments of joy, togetherness, and making memories to share.

About the Author

delana r. a. dameron author

DéLana R.A. Dameron is an artist and storyteller, known for her profound exploration of the South and its complexities. A native of Columbia, South Carolina, Dameron’s relationship with the South is intricately woven into her work, reflecting a journey of love and understanding.

Author of the poetry collections Weary Kingdom and How God Ends Us, Dameron has earned numerous accolades, including the South Carolina Poetry Book Prize for the latter. Her latest fiction work, Redwood Court, has been released by Random House in February 2024.

Dameron is a graduate of New York University’s MFA program in poetry, holding a BA degree in history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Beyond her literary accomplishments, she serves as the Director of Strategic Development at Weeksville Heritage Center, a cultural center preserving the history of the first free black community in Brooklyn.

As a culture-maker, Dameron brings her expertise to non-profit fundraising and program development in arts, culture, and education. She has served in various leadership roles, including as the Director of Alumni Programs at The TEAK Fellowship. Dameron is also deeply committed to supporting the arts community and is the founder of Saloma Acres, Red Olive Culture Commons, and Black Art Futures Fund, initiatives fostering cultural and philanthropic endeavors.

Book Club Questions for Redwood Court

Disclaimer: the following discussion questions contain spoilers, so proceed with caution if you haven’t finished the book yet.

  1. How does Mika’s character evolve from the beginning of the novel to the end? Can you identify specific events or relationships that shape her coming-of-age journey?
  2. Mika grows up in the 1990s. How does the time period contribute to her coming-of-age experience? In what ways do the historical and cultural elements of the 1990s impact the characters’ lives?
  3. Weesie plays a crucial role in shaping the community on Redwood Court. Discuss specific instances where Weesie demonstrates her leadership and commitment to fostering a close-knit neighborhood.
  4. Redwood Court serves as more than just a setting; it’s almost a character in itself. How does the location impact the characters’ lives, and what does it represent for the Tabor family and the broader community?
  5. Mika is encouraged to write down the family’s stories. Explore the theme of storytelling in the novel. How does storytelling contribute to the characters’ understanding of their identity and history?
  6. Instances of community support are prevalent in the story, such as fund-raisers and neighborly assistance. Identify key moments that showcase the strength of community bonds and discuss their impact on the characters.
  7. The novel is rich in cultural references, from Motown music to discussions about genealogy. Share your favorite cultural references in the book and discuss how they enhance the overall narrative.
  8. Identify symbolic objects or recurring motifs in the novel, such as the magnolia and eucalyptus trees on Redwood Court. Discuss their significance and how they contribute to the overall themes of the story.
  9. The book touches on racism, segregation, and social challenges faced by the Black community. How does the author address these issues, and what impact do they have on the characters’ lives?
  10. Explore Mika’s relationships with her parents, sister, and extended family. How do these relationships contribute to the overall family dynamic, and are there specific scenes that stand out in depicting these connections?
  11. Mika’s grandparents lived through the era of Jim Crow. Explore how this historical backdrop influences their worldview, decisions, and the overall family dynamics. Are there specific anecdotes or quotes that illustrate this impact?
  12. The Tabor family has various rituals, from family vacations to gatherings on Redwood Court. Identify specific rituals that stand out to you and discuss their significance in reinforcing familial bonds.
  13. Teeta, Mika’s grandfather, plays a significant role in her life. Explore Teeta’s character in-depth, highlighting key moments that reveal his personality and his impact on Mika’s upbringing.
  14. The Tabor family faces several challenges, including financial struggles and dealing with racism. Discuss specific challenges that resonate with you and explore how the characters respond to adversity.
  15. Mika struggles with a school project on genealogy and tracing her family roots. How does the theme of genealogy connect with the broader theme of identity in the story? How do the characters grapple with their past and the idea of heritage?
  16. Choose one or more characters and analyze their growth throughout the novel. Are there characters who undergo significant transformations or change their perspectives over time?
  17. The story is set against the backdrop of historical events such as the Korean War and the Civil Rights movement. Discuss how these events shape the characters’ lives and decisions.
  18. Redwood Court is a close-knit community. Explore the dynamics within the cul-de-sac, considering neighborly relationships, shared experiences, and the sense of belonging.
  19. Mika keeps a journal to document her family’s stories. How does her journaling serve as a narrative device in the novel? Discuss specific entries or reflections that provide insights into the characters’ lives.
  20. The novel spans several decades and explores the lives of different generations within the Tabor family. Discuss the differences in experiences, challenges, and perspectives between the older and younger characters.
  21. The book has a unique narrative structure with multiple points of view. How does the author’s choice of structure contribute to the storytelling? Did you find it effective in conveying the different voices within the family?
  22. Weesie emerges as a strong matriarch in the story. Explore Weesie’s influence on the family, particularly on Mika. How does her character embody resilience, strength, and love?
  23. Share moments or quotes from the book that particularly resonated with you emotionally. Why do you think these passages had a strong impact?
  24. Which character did you find most compelling, and why? How did the characters evolve throughout the novel, and were there any particular moments that resonated with you?
  25. Love and resilience are central themes in the novel. How do these themes manifest in the characters’ relationships and experiences? Can you identify moments of strength and endurance within the narrative?
  26. Redwood Court is DéLana R. A. Dameron’s debut novel. How does her background as an award-winning poet influence the storytelling? Were there elements in the novel that reflected her poetic style?
  27. What were your feelings about the way Redwood Court concluded? Were you satisfied, surprised, or left with lingering questions? How did the ending shape your overall perception of the book, and did it align with your expectations? Feel free to express your emotions and reflections on how the author chose to conclude the story.

Additional Recommendations

Hope you enjoyed the book club discussion questions and reading guide for Redwood Court by DéLana R. A. Dameron. Here are some more of my book club recommendations with themes related to this book, along with their synopses:

Family Family by Laurie Frankel

​“Not all stories of adoption are stories of pain and regret. Not even most of them. Why don’t we ever get that movie?”

India Allwood grew up wanting to be an actor. Armed with a stack of index cards (for research/line memorization/make-shift confetti), she goes from awkward sixteen-year-old to Broadway ingenue to TV superhero.

Her new movie is a prestige picture about adoption, but its spin is the same old tired story of tragedy. India is an adoptive mom in real life though. She wants everyone to know there’s more to her family than pain and regret. So she does something you should never do ― she tells a journalist the truth: it’s a bad movie.

Soon she’s at the center of a media storm, battling accusations from the press and the paparazzi, from protesters on the right and advocates on the left. Her twin ten-year-olds know they need help – and who better to call than family? But that’s where it gets really messy because India’s not just an adoptive mother…

The one thing she knows for sure is what makes a family isn’t blood. And it isn’t love. No matter how they’re formed, the truth about family is this: it’s complicated.

For my book club questions for this book, click here!

The Last Love Note by Emma Grey

You may never stop loving the one you lost. But you can still find love again.

Kate is a bit of a mess. Two years after losing her young husband Cameron, she’s grieving, solo parenting, working like mad at her university fundraising job, always dropping the ball―and yet clinging to her sense of humor.

Lurching from one comedic crisis to the next, she also navigates an overbearing mom and a Tinder-obsessed best friend who’s determined to matchmake Kate with her hot new neighbor.

When an in-flight problem leaves Kate and her boss, Hugh, stranded for a weekend on the east coast of Australia, she finally has a chance, away from her son, to really process her grief and see what’s right in front of her. Can she let go of the love of her life and risk her heart a second time? When it becomes clear that Hugh is hiding a secret, Kate turns to the trail of scribbled notes she once used to hold her life together.

The first note captured her heart. Will the last note set it free?

The Last Love Note will make readers laugh, cry, and renew their faith in the resilience of the human heart―and in love itself.

Good Material by Dolly Alderton

Andy loves Jen. Jen loved Andy. And he can’t work out why she stopped.

Now he is. . .

Without a home

Waiting for his stand-up career to take off

Wondering why everyone else around him seems to have grown up while he wasn’t looking

Set adrift on the sea of heartbreak, Andy clings to the idea of solving the puzzle of his ruined relationship. Because if he can find the answer to that, then maybe Jen can find her way back to him. But Andy still has a lot to learn, not least his ex-girlfriend’s side of the story…

In this sharply funny and exquisitely relatable story of romantic disaster and friendship, Dolly Alderton offers up a love story with two endings, demonstrating once again why she is one of the most exciting writers today, and the true voice of a generation.

Happy reading! ❤️