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Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

Ace of Spades

1. Why does David admire his friend Stefan so much? Why doesn’t Stefan “out” David when he passes for white? And why is Stefan able to seem so self-confident while David is not?

2. Discuss the influence Grandma Mae had on David.

3. Why does David ignore his father, Ralph, in the park? Should he have done so?

4. How did the father and the son moving to different neighborhoods alter David’s life and his sense of himself?

5. How does the fact that David is half Jewish shape his self-image?

6. Would it have made a difference to David’s life if Ralph had spent more time educating David on his black heritage? Why did Ralph not do so?

7. Is David a racist? To whom and in what way? If so, when does David first become aware of his own racism?

8. After the cross-burning incident, David decides that he isn’t a racist but a “hater.” What is the difference?

9. David briefly becomes radicalized when he finally embraces his black identity. Why is that?

10. When David is passing, does he do so out of cowardice, necessity, or convenience?

11. In the last chapter of the book, we learn what happened to David’s mother, Robin. Do these revelations answer any of David’s questions about his life and identity?

12. Who decides who is black, white, Jewish, or any ethnicity? Each individual, or society? What if the individual and society disagree?

13. Does David write about an America that you recognize?

Ace of Spades
by David Matthews

  • Publication Date: February 6, 2007
  • Genres: Memoir, Nonfiction
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
  • ISBN-10: 0805081496
  • ISBN-13: 9780805081497