For Book Clubs
We here at Southern Fried Karma want to encourage in-depth discussions about all the books we produce. We hope to foster an interactive attitude toward the texts and toward our business. Please feel free to use our questions below as a starting point for book club discussions—however, we hope that as you read, you feel compelled to develop your own questions about the text. Please contact us if you desire more materials, and we will see how we can help you. Happy reading!
Lying for a Living
by Steve McCondichie
Jesse Few peddles lies. His boss and clients order a couple. His married girlfriend gets a few. His family buys several. But he saves the top-of-the-line dishonesty to sell to himself.
The forty-nine-year-old suburban rogue focuses on boozing with his golf buddies, chasing much-too, younger women, and surviving the Great Recession that’s raging across the South like it’s the Big Bank’s March to the Sea. His rambling approach to life and love is challenged when his boozy mom believes she’s being stalked by her long-dead first husband and his woebegone son skirmishes with a megalomaniac preacher.
A cowboy-up moment drives him to decide whether he’ll saddle up and rescue his loved ones from these imminent threats or retreat to the familiar comforts of denial, avoidance, and blowing up watermelons with black market machine guns. This is an irreverent mid-life coming-of-age story where an unwitting father and son wrestles with his capacity to mature into a bona fide adult.
Book Club Questions
- Reading the title Lying for a Living and seeing the cover art and synopsis, what perceptions did you form about the book before reading? Did the book live up to your perceptions or did it surprise you? Explain one way or the other.
- What are some themes the author touches on? For example, the effect of the recession on individuals and a person’s ability to change. Why might these themes and others you can identify be important to talk about?
- A toxic fascination with earning a quick buck rules much of Jesse’s life. Is the climate after the recession to blame for this, or is it just in Jesse’s nature? How do you interpret the bank’s reaction to his inability to make payments?
- Many adults have complicated relationships with their parents. Can you relate to Jesse’s struggle to figure out what to do with his mother? If so, how? How does his relationship with his mother affect his parenting and his life? How does his lack of a permanent father figure affect things?
- Parenthood is a topic rife with conflicting viewpoints. To some, Jesse’s attitude toward parenting could be perceived as cavalier. Is his behavior understandable or callous? Discuss.
- From the beginning of the novel, Jesse presents himself as a womanizer. How does his fascination with the opposite sex get him into trouble? Can he change this about himself? Does he even want to?
- Religion of course can divide people. How do you react to the character of Pastor Sonny? Does he fit into your views of the church, or does he confuse them? How do you react to Sonny’s less-than above board actions in his personal and professional life? As a man of the cloth, should he be held to a higher standard, or are his actions equally regrettable to anyone else who abuses their power?
- What do you make of Melanie’s communications with the dead? Is this real or brought on by stress?
- Given the ending of the novel, with Jesse already entering into a new relationship (albeit with a more available woman), is there hope for him to truly become a one-woman man?
- What about his obsession with risky business gambles? Can he resist the temptation, or will he fall into another money trap?
- Would you recommend this book to friends? Why or why not?