Happy Bookers Discussion Group

Next meeting: Wednesday, February 24
at 2:00 pm and 7:00 p.m.

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

by Ben Fountain

Billy Lynn Cover


A satire set in Texas during America's war in Iraq that explores the gaping national disconnect between the war at home and the war abroad. Follows the surviving members of the heroic Bravo Squad through one exhausting stop in their media-intensive "Victory Tour" at Texas Stadium, football mecca of the Dallas Cowboys, their fans, promoters, and cheerleaders. "Written in a voice that is at once hopeful, cautious, naive, profoundly wise, and completely lost yet utterly knowing, Fountain’s most recent work of fiction delivers a brilliant, powerful examination of how modern warfare affects soldiers back at home." (Booklist, Starred Review).

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Discussion Questions

Do the young men from Bravo meet your expectations of what war heroes are...or should be? Given their behavior—drinking, trash-talk, hyper-sexuality, and brawling—are they what you think of when the word "hero" comes to mind? Do you find Ben Fountain's portrayal of them funny ... offensive ... realistic...?

What kind of character is Albert? Most books and films are scathing in their portrayal of Hollywood and its values. How does Albert, a three-time Oscar winner, stack up to the stereotypical Hollywood producer—what do you make of him?

Is it possible for any noncombatant to understand the depth of Billy's grief? Is it "profane" to talk about Shroom...or is there a way, as an outsider, to talk about war and death without cheapening it? Billy thinks there ought to be a special lanaguage to do so. Do we have such a language?

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk is considered satire, a type of literature that takes a sardonic view of societal conventions. What is this book satirizing—what are its specific targets? By definition, satires are humorous, even absurd...are there sections in Halftime Walk you found particularly funny? Are there parts that angered...or saddened you?



Questions excerpted from Litlovers


Upcoming Selections:

March The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe

April The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez

May The World's Strongest Librarian by Josh Hanagarne

June The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion



Happy Bookers selections are chosen by the participants.  Suggest a book for discussion

The Happy Bookers is Phillipsburg Library's monthly book discussion group.  We meet on the fourth Wednesday of the month at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.  Newcomers are always welcome, and no registration is necessary.  Call Deb at 908-454-3712 for more information.

Can't make the meeting? Visit our Happy Bookers Group on Goodreads and add your thoughts there!