One Good Dog

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Wilson, Susan

Fans of MARLEY AND ME will find a new dog to cheer for in this insightful novel about Adam March, a Boston man recovering from the shame of a foolish crime, and Chance, a scrappy pit bull mix trying to escape the illegal dogfight circuit. Adam, 46, is a ruthless self-made millionaire married to an icy socialite living a picture-perfect existence that includes a teen princess daughter. Then he loses his job for slapping his assistant, Sophie, full across the face after she gives him a message that reads: Your sister called. Forty years ago, Adam's sister, Veronica, ran away leaving Adam with their widowed dad, who subsequently placed Adam into foster care. For his violent act, Adam is sentenced to perform community service at a homeless men's shelter where the adorable Chance teaches Adam about survival and what matters. Chance tells his story in his own words, which makes his mistreatment and return to the fighting pit powerfully disturbing.

Discussion Guide: 

1. What explains Adam March’s outrageous attack on Sophie?

2. Why do you think the author used the first person in telling Chance’s story?

3. There are two protagonists in this story. Are they equal? Are they believable?

4. What is Adam’s initial attitude toward the Chance?

5. How does that attitude reflect his attitude in general and the situation he’s in?

6. When Adam breaks down, what motivates Chance to approach him?

7. What does Chance think of his ‘career’ as a fighter?

8. Should Adam forgive his father?

9. What role does Gina play in Adam’s personal growth?

10. Describe Adam’s relationship with his daughter Ariel. How does his childhood impact this relationship, or does it?

11. Does Adam relate at all to the boys he encounters on the street? How so?

12. What are Adam’s three sins and does he overcome them?

13. In this story men are living on the streets as well as dogs. Are you more likely to support animal shelters or homeless shelters?

14. Conventional wisdom believes that fighting pit bulls cannot be rehabilitated. In many cities, a dog that has been known to fight is automatically put down. Do you think that a character like Chance is realistic? Does he change your mind about pit bulls?

15. In the end, has Adam been redeemed?

(Questions by ReadingGroupGuides)