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University Libraries Book Club: Spring 2023

Last Updated: Feb 26, 2024 1:22 PM

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  1. Darius struggles to make friends in school and is bullied by some classmates. How does Darius respond to the bullying he faces at school? What changes when he returns from Iran? What leads someone to bully others? What could you do if you were a witness to this
  2. “Everyone wants you here. We have a saying in Farsi. It translates ‘your place was empty.’ We say it when we miss somebody.” ...”Your place was empty before. But this is your family. You belong here” (190). What makes this statement so powerful to Darius?
  3. “The thing is, I never had a friend like Sohrab before. One who understood me without even trying. Who knew what it was like to be stuck on the outside because of one little thing that set you apart” (267). What are some of the experiences or reasons that you’ve connected with your friend(s) in a more meaningful way?
  4. In the afterword the author states, “...But depression can be just as hard to witness as it can be to live with. It’s frustrating to love someone and be unable to help them” (314). What are some ways you can support someone with depression, while taking care of yourself?
  5. In what ways does Darius articulate his feelings about being different in his family and school?
  6. What cultural differences does Darius struggle with in his time in Yazd (culture shock)? What is it like for him when he goes back home to the United States (reverse culture shock)?
  7. How are the descriptions of Iran in this book different from the descriptions you’ve seen in mainstream media?
  8. Describe Darius’s and Laleh’s relationship. How does Laleh challenge Darius?
  9. Sohrab and Darius become good friends. What is it about Sohrab’s communication style that is different and helps Darius to feel more comfortable?
  10. How do you think Darius perceives his own sexuality?
  11. How does Darius become more comfortable in his identity through his experiences visiting family in Iran?
  12. How does Darius not knowing Farsi contribute to his issues in connecting with others?
  13. Why does Lahleh speak Farsi when Darius does not? What reasons might a parent have when deciding not to raise a child to be bilingual?
  14. When Darius returns home, how does he react differently to situations that bothered him before the trip?
  15. What are some similarities and differences between your family and Darius’s?
  16. What do you think the significance of the Star Trek episodes are to this book?
  17. Darius is hurt several times in the book by people who question why he has depression. What leads people to ask that question? Who deserves to know that information? How do you respond If you don’t want to answer?
  18. “Sohrab was a good listener. He never played devil’s advocate or told me what I was feeling was wrong, the way Stephen Kellner did. He nodded to let me know he understood, and laughed if I said something funny” (193). How do you become a better listener?
  19. Who are the fathers in this book? What are the father/child relationships in the book, and what makes them so complex?
  20. Darius struggles to make friends at home. What makes finding good friends hard? What responsibility do you have to help others find and keep relationships with others?
  21. Darius tells his dad, “Sometimes I can’t help crying. Okay? Sometimes bad shit happens. Sometimes people are mean to me and I cry. Sorry for being such a target. Sorry for disappointing you. Again” (283). Why is it there such shame over his tears? How do we treat mental illness differently in women than men? (Questions About Men and Masculinity).
  22. How do we recognize and deal with mental illness when we see signs of it in our friends?
  23. Sohrab apologizes to Darius before he leaves Iran. “...I was hurting. And you were there. And I knew how to make you hurt as bad as me” (294). Why do we sometimes intentionally hurt the people we care about the most? How do you mend a relationship after the fact?

Source: K-State First (2019). Darius the Great is Not Okay [Brochure]. Manhattan, Kansas: K-State First, used under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)

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Mary Kamela
520C Lockwood Library