Do you plan to discuss the novel Remarkably Bright Creatures with your book club? Here we’ve put together some questions that can help guide your conversation. This book is a warm and enjoyable read. It will leave you with a sense of hope and appreciation for the value of human-animal connections.
What is the book Remarkably Bright Creatures about?
“Remarkably Bright Creatures” by Shelby Van Pelt is a charming and emotional novel. It tells the story of an unlikely relationship. The friendship between a 70-year-old lady and a giant Pacific octopus at an aquarium. The story is told from the perspective of Marcellus, the octopus. The novel explores themes of loss, grief, loneliness, aging, family, and friendship.
Tova Sullivan and Cameron Cassmore navigate their personal struggles. They make connections with each other and with their community. The author describes the setting of the Pacific Northwest beautifully. While a lively cast of human and cephalopod characters adds to the novel’s engaging and well-paced narrative.
Remarkably Bright Creatures discussion questions for book club
1. What is your initial impression of Tova and Marcellus? How do their personalities compare to each other?
2. What is the significance of the octopus Marcellus in the novel? How does he interact with the human characters?
3. How does the portrayal of the aquarium and Marcellus’s captivity make you feel? Do you think it is morally right to keep animals in captivity for human entertainment?
4. What is the significance of the scenes set in the aquarium? How do they contribute to the novel’s themes and overall narrative?
5. How does the novel depict the bond between humans and animals?
6. If Marcellus were human, what traits do you believe he would have? What do you think is the reason for the success of Marcellus and Tova’s unusual friendship?
7. What is the significance of the class ring that Marcellus retrieves for Tova?
8. How did Erik’s role in the novel affect the story?
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9. Marcellus, who is actually an octopus, is more intelligent than any human. Have you ever seen an animal with the mental level of Marcellus? If yes, have you tried to develop a relationship with this animal? If yes, how did you experience this relationship emotionally or otherwise?
10. The novel is set in a recent past Pacific NW coastal town with the Puget Sound playing a key role in the story. How does the setting impact the novel beyond this? What would change if it were set in a place like Arizona?
11. How does the setting of Sowell Bay contribute to the setting and themes of the novel? And how do this community support and care for its members?
12. The book ends with coincidences connecting Cameron and Tova’s relationship. Do you think this ending was logical? Did you like the ending or were you expecting something else?
13. Tova remembers her experience when she took care of her sick husband until he died. And now that she has no family to look after her in her old age, she fears becoming a burden to her friends. How important do you think the role of the family is in caring for the elderly?
14. What role do Tova’s friends in the “Knit-Wits” play in her life and how do they support her?
15. How do the elderly characters in the novel, such as Tova and Lars, deal with the problems of aging and loneliness?
16. What does the novel say about the value of community and friendship?
17. What motivates Cameron to come to Sowell Bay and search for information about his father? And how does his search for his father and family history drive the plot of the novel?
18. Cameron wants to receive a large sum of money from his father, a real estate developer. He believes his life will improve with this money. How would the story be different if Simon Brinks were indeed Cameron’s father?
19. How do Tova and Cameron’s pasts and present intersect? And how does this affect their relationships and actions in the novel?
20. How does the theme of family and relationships play out in the novel through the characters of Tova, Cameron, and Marcellus?
21. The book narrates the experiences of various characters who have to make important decisions. They may seize a bold and unexpected opportunity, or stick to their current ways. If there ever comes a time in your life when an important choice changes the situation, will you accept the change or play it safe?
22. How does the ending of the novel leave you feeling? And what message do you think the novel conveys about the value of community and friendship?
These were the club questions for the novel ‘Remarkably Bright Creatures’. Now:
What to read if you liked Remarkably Bright Creatures?
If you want to read more books like this, check out the following books:
- Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
- Still Life by Sarah Winman
- Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult
- Fire Bringer by David Clement-Davies
- The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa
Remarkably Bright Creatures is a heartwarming novel. It touches on themes of loss, grief, loneliness, aging, family, and friendship. The unique perspective of the octopus Marcellus adds a layer of humor and wisdom to the story. Moreover, the close-knit community of Sowell Bay provides a sense of belonging for the human characters.
These discussion questions for Remarkably Bright Creatures can help guide your book club. Your group members can use them to discuss the novel’s themes and character relationships.