In Robert Cormier's unforgettable novels, an individual often stands alone, fighting for what is right--or just to survive--against powerful, sinister, and sometimes evil people. His twisty, gripping stories explore some of the darker corners of the human psyche but always with a moral focus and a probing intelligence that compels readers to examine their own feelings and ethical beliefs. The questions that follow are intended to spur discussion and to provoke thoughtful readers to contemplate some of the issues of identity, character, emotion, and morality that make Cormier's books so compelling.
"Cormier's greatest work skillfully weaves together three narratives to slowly reveal
the horrifying fate of fourteen-year-old Adam Farmer and his family." --The Horn Book
1. Adam is pedaling on the bike at the beginning and the end of the novel. What do you think this endless cycling refers to? Does the book have a sense of motion? Is there a destination?
2. Discuss the meaning of the title. Is it significant that it comes from a nursery song sung by Adam at the end of the book?
3. Adam is struggling to understand his identity. What composes his identity? What composes your identity? What defines you?
4. Do you think this novel is a tragedy? What types of injustice are done to Adam? How does the government view him? Does it value him? In what way(s)?
5. Adam is being manipulated by the doctors/ government. How is Cormier manipulating you as the reader and why?
Cormier's writing is unique in its richness and power, and he has often been called the finest young adult novelist in America today. His books are brilliant and complex structures full of intricate wordplay and subtle thought. Robert Cormier is a Margaret A. Edwards Award winner, and his books repeatedly appear on the best books lists of the American Library Association, The New York Times, and School Library Journal.