Book Club Questions for Harold Coyle’s Other Side of the Wire

When educator Tiffany P. picked up The Other Side of the Wire, she could not put it down. “I read it in one night because it was so gripping,” she wrote. “I felt like I was there, in that point in history.”

Harold Coyle’s latest work is a thought-provoking, historical fiction book that not only tells an empathetic, coming of age transgender story, but also delivers on Coyle’s thorough research of the WWII time period.

Recent Master Wings Publishing release, The Other Side of the Wire, is a great book club pick, as it explores a wide range of subjects that inspire not only internal introspection of themes and expectations but also an external exploration of both the past and present. Below, we have pulled together several questions to help kickstart discussions on the title.

Caution: some oblique spoilers follow.

Focus on individuals:

  1. How did your opinion of the characters change as the book progressed?
  2. Were you ever mad or frustrated with Hannah, the main character? Why?
  3. Consider Hannah’s relationship with Wolfgang and Siegfried. Is she a good sister? What makes a good sibling?
  4. When growing up, Hannah and her friends nickname a hated teacher “the Blonde Cow.” What cruel nicknames have you encountered in your own life? Were they deserved?
  5. Throughout the novel, Hannah repeatedly insists that “luck has nothing to do with this or anything else I do.” Do you believe in luck? Do you think Hannah is lucky?

Focus on family:

  1. Have you ever disagreed with your parents/ family? What about and why?
  2. Hannah’s biological and adopted family tried to shield her from the reality of the world. Did your family ever keep difficult truths from you? How did you feel when you found out the truth? To what extent is this kind of action acceptable?
  3. Do you see family, like Ernst Richter did, as an escape isolated from the rest of the world?
  4. Hannah reacted very differently to losing her biological father as she did to losing Lena Richter. Why were these responses different? Have you ever lost someone close to you? How did you react?
  5. Hannah is pressured to consider Peter Bauer and then Horst Fischer as acceptable matches. Have you ever experienced similar romantic pressures from your family? How did you react?

Focus on community:

  1. Have you ever been willfully ignorant, as Hannah was? Was there a tipping point where you could no longer ignore things?
  2. Do you feel pressured by the public’s perception of your gender to play a certain role?
  3. When Hannah meets her idol, Madam Delome, it does not at all go as she expected. Have you ever met someone you admired/ a celebrity? How was the experience? Did they live up to your expectations?
  4. What scene has stuck with you the most, and why?
  5. What surprised you the most about the book? Did you learn any new historical information? Were you inspired to investigate any topic in further detail?

To see how the author, Harold Coyle, answered some questions of their own check out this interview.

If you are interested in ordering bulk copies of this book for your book club, reach out via email to discuss discount opportunities.

We would love to hear any of your thoughts on these questions—feel free to comment on this post or find us on social media.

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