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THEN LIKE THE BLIND MAN: Orbie's Story
by Owens Freddie

Published: 2012-11-15T00:0
Paperback : 330 pages
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At nine, Orbie seems to live his life along a precipice. He is burdened with an overabundance of difficult choices which would be beyond the capacities of most boys his age--but Orbie is about to discover he's no ordinary boy. In the debut novel from artist and poet Freddie Owens, nothing ...
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Introduction

At nine, Orbie seems to live his life along a precipice. He is burdened with an overabundance of difficult choices which would be beyond the capacities of most boys his age--but Orbie is about to discover he's no ordinary boy. In the debut novel from artist and poet Freddie Owens, nothing is ever precisely what it seems: prejudice in not innate, the dead aren't really dead, and those in positions of power cannot be trusted.

Orbie finds himself deposited at his grandparent's home in Kentucky one summer, his stepfather, Victor having had a change of heart about including him on a family prospecting trip to Florida. Except "heart"doesn't seem, to Orbie, quite the right word to apply to his stepfather, whose tempestuous temper took him from the widowed family's salvation to its most dangerous element in one outburst flat.

Then Like The Blind Man: ORBIE'S STORY is an electrifying porthole to the South of the '50s, where, though inane prejudice may have dominated, kindness and justice also had a place. Orbie's sharecropping grandparents, by defying convention with unnerving grace, become founts of colloquial wisdom whose appeal is impossible to resist, and the Orbie they nurture--the best version of a boy who may otherwise have been lost--is someone the reader comes to love.

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Discussion Questions

1) How are the prejudices of the 1950s Civil Rights Era reflected in Orbie's behavior and attitude? How does Orbie's attitude and behavior change over the course of the story?

2) Anger, power and control play a roll in most domestic abuse situations. How are these three facets at play in Victor's behavior? What influenced Victor's development early on?

3) How might domestic abuse and prejudice be related? Can you discern a parallel between these in the book?

4) There were magical and religious elements in ORBIE'S STORY. How did these manifest? Do you see them as being related? If so, how?

5) There were many healing scenes in the book. Can you describe some of them?

6) How did the relationship between Orbie and Willis develop over time? How about the relationship between Orbie and the black community; how did that develop?

7) What role did Moses Mashbone play in Orbie's development? How about Bird Pruitt? What is magical realism anyway?

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