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Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

A Star Called Henry

1. Did you like Henry Smart? What did you like best about his personality? Was there anything you didn't like about him?

2. The naming of people is a topic that comes up often in A Star Called Henry. Henry's mother names stars after her dead children; Henry never calls Miss O'Shea by her first name; and Henry himself takes on many different names throughout the novel. Do you think this is significant? Why? Can you think of other naming issues in the novel?

3. How is Henry's relationship with his father important to the story? Why do you think Henry feels compelled to search for the truth about his father?

4. Henry has important connections with a number of different women in this story: his mother, Granny Nash, Piano Annie, Miss O'Shea. What is the significance of each relationship for Henry? How is each different? Are there any similarities among the relationships?

5. After keeping out of the political uprisings for awhile, Henry meets Jack Dalton, and is drawn back in. After listening to Jack "I was . . . ready to fall dead for a version of Ireland that had little or nothing to do with the Ireland I'd gone out to die for the last time," Henry says. What does he mean by this statement?

6. How does Henry's relationship with Mr. Climanis make him start to change his attitude towards Jack Dalton and the Irish rebellion?

7. What did you think of the fictional Henry's relationship with real-life figures such as Michael Collins? Was their connection believable?

8. Is Henry a true Irish patriot? How does Henry's attitude towards the Irish cause compare with Miss O'Shea's?

A Star Called Henry
by Roddy Doyle

  • Publication Date: September 1, 2000
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (Non-Classics)
  • ISBN-10: 0140296131
  • ISBN-13: 9780140296136