Bad Ideas Book Club Guide

Are you part of a book club or are you looking to start one? Bad Ideas by Missy Marston makes a great book club pick! Loosely inspired by Ken “the Crazy Canuck” Carter’s attempt to jump the St. Lawrence River in a rocket car, and set in a 1970s hollowed-out town in eastern Ontario, it paints an indelible portrait of people on the forgotten fringes of life. Wildly funny and wonderfully moving, Bad Ideas is about just that — a string of bad ideas — and the absurdity of love.

Book Club Questions

  1. Each major character gets to narrate a chapter from their own point of view. Did you enjoy this form of the novel? Did hearing from another narrator change your impression of the other characters?
  2. Which of the characters did you like, or empathize with, the most? The least? Why?
  3. What did you think of Trudy? What did you like and dislike about her? Given the circumstances, do you think you would have acted any differently in Trudy’s place after her sister Tammy ran away?
  4. This novel takes place in a rural Ontario town in the 1970s. Why is this setting significant?
  5. Love is a really prevalent theme throughout the book. Discuss the differences in the way each character gives and receives love from both familial and romantic perspectives.
  6. Trudy is adamant about not believing in love until she falls in love herself. Why do you think this changed? 
  7. There are several scenes throughout the book where Trudy (p. 32, 107); Fenton (p. 115) and Jules (p. 216) look out at ships on the water. Discuss the motif of ships coming into or leaving the harbour — what significance might this have for these characters?
  8. Did you pick out any other major themes in the book? How do they connect with each other?
  9. Why do you think the author ended the book the way she did?

Download the complete Bad Ideas Book Club Guide here


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