In the Garden of Beasts – Discussion Questions

Did you enjoy In the Garden of Beasts?? Below are some discussion questions that you can use for you OWN book club!

But I digress…

These are some questions/topics I want to discuss. You don’t need to answer every question (this isn’t a book report!), but just the ones that interest you. I find this book completely discussion worthy – there are so many things I said, “WHY!!” to when reading it. I was also, at times, a little confused because there are SO MANY PEOPLE INVOLVED.

1. Why do you think everyone was so in love with Hitler? Even Dodd seemed to have a political crush on him when he first arrived in Germany.

2. When you think Dodd realized that following the Nazi party was like putting on a pair of Bad Idea Jeans?

3. Did you like the Dodd family? What were your first impressions? Did it frustrate you that the “Pretty Good Club” had it out for Dodd?

4. Let’s talk about Martha. Were you surprised by her, ahem, “behavior”? Did you approve? Do you sense a double standard from the author? Why do you think her parents just turned a blind eye?

5. Were you surprised at anti-semitism that not only came from Germany – but also the US? Where do you think that Dodds stood?

6. What were your feelings about Hitler?

7. What disturbed you most about this book?

8. Do you think that Dodd did all that he could to warn the US about Hitler and the Nazi party? Is there anything else he could have done?

9. Could you draw any correlations from this period in history to current/recent history?

10. Did you like this book? What were your overall thoughts on the way the story was told?

Bonus question – What the hell was Bill (Dodd’s son) doing the whole time they were there?? Let’s get creative.


    • Michelle says

      I have that one on my Nook and still haven’t started it — is it good? I’ve heard that if you can get past the first part it’s awesome. I’ve fallen asleep 4 times trying to read the 1st part – please tell me I can make it through!

  1. says

    I am about 1/2 way through the book. I’m curious what people think about how hard it is to really understand the Dodds, given that we have the benefit of knowing how bad the Nazis were. I find myself really dislking them for going along with the Nazis, yet at the time maybe it was hard to see how bad they were – hard to believe that evil like that existed.

    How do I link? I’m planning on posting on Monday my responses to your questions – well, not all, just a couple. Although you know I love a good book report/distraction from real work…

    • Michelle says

      I had some concers about the Dodds until the last part of the book. I think they have a slow awakening to the Nazi party that was DEFINITELY changed on June 30th, 1934. Have you gotten to that part yet? I felt a huge shift in the book after that point.

      There’s a plugin or tool that I have to add to my post where you will basically “upload” your blog post – and then everyone will be able to see it. Here’s one of the tools that does it:

  2. says

    Oh, and I was going to suggest Ann Patchett’s new book, State of Wonder. I’ve never read anything by her but she was a Sewanee Writer-in-Residence and is supposed to be pretty good. Take a look and let me know what you think. It may be a dud, I tend to not like fiction by authors who spend a lot of time at those fancy writer’s camps and she might be one of those.

    • Michelle says

      I was actually looking at her new book! I’ve read a few books by her — one that I really liked (The Patron Saint of Liars) and one that was just “eh” (Bel Canto) (I didn’t like the way it ended – but it won all kinds of books, so what do I know!). I’ll add it to the short list!

  3. Jenny @ Fitness Health and Food says

    ohh I hope I’ll be able to join in next week! What a fun idea! You know I’m with ya blog buddy :)

  4. H says

    I am still working on reading it…according to my Kindle, I am about 30% done.. so far, very interesting. I can say that so far I am torn between whether I like the Dodds or not as well… I will definitely have more to post after my flight home on Friday :)


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