Stuck in Neutral by Terry Trueman

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Topics for Discussion

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

1. Characterize Shawn. Does he seem real? Why?

2. Why does Shawn want to live?

3. Is Shawn's father a good guy or a bad guy or both? Is he suffering more for Shawn or himself? Why do you think so?

4. Do you think Shawn's father killed him or not? Why?

5. Retell the story from the mother's point of view; from his sister Cindy's; and from his brother Paul's. How would these stories be different from Shawn's?

6. Identify two or three metaphors in the poem about Shawn that his father wrote. What do these reveal about his father's feelings about Shawn's situation?

7. Shawn uses humor as a weapon to keep from feeling sorry for himself. Give some examples of Shawn's sense of humor.

8. What is the significance of the title, Stuck in Neutral?