Red Mountain
by Boo Walker


West Maui Book Club Discussion Questions

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Any page numbers refer to iPad edition.


Active Characters: Otis Pennington, Joan Tobey, Aunt Morgan, Margot Pierce, Rory Simpson, Jasper Simpson, Brooks Baker, Abby Sinclaire, Charles Wildridge, Jake & Carmen Forester, Emilia Forester, Joe Massey, Tex Gentry, Ron Sallee, Henry Davidson

1) The novel starts with Otis having lost his sense of smell. How devastating might that be for a vintner?

2) Family relations can be both a blessing and a bomb. How was having Morgan in Otis’s life either of these sentiments?

3) Discuss inappropriate teacher/student relationships. How and why did Emilia Forester fall so easily for Joe Massey, her 12th grade creative writing teacher? Consider all the elements.

4) The novel contained a lot of sexual and family structure diversity between couples, teens, and sexes. Did you find this a surprising revelation or was it more of a refreshing application?

5) Wine and wine country serves as a communal bind, but which character(s) helped to implement that most?

6) In what ways is wine country comparable to a small community? Are there really no secrets on the mountain?

7) How did animals play a part in the ecosystem at Red Mountain?

8) What did you most learn or take away from the novel about the wine industry in general and its people fictionally?

9) The story is told from the winery owners’ points of view, but Henry Davidson and family have another. Discuss encroachment and ways of dealing with it.

10) There was great kindness and crudity in this novel between the characters, especially at the Thanksgiving table. Discuss the dynamic.

11) Have you ever visited Red Mountain?

12) Did you download the free "Red Mountain Recipe Book" by Boo Walker and Mikella Walker MA, MHC? Go to:


1. Who is your favorite character? Who is your least favorite character?

2. Who would you cast as the main characters in the movie of Red Mountain?

3. What were the strongest wants/desires of Otis, Margot, Emilia, and Brooks?

4. In Red Mountain, Boo switches points of view in each chapter? Did you find this device an effective way to tell this story or was it too confusing?

5. Would you consider Red Mountain to be a character itself?

6. Do you disagree with Jake taking Carmen back?

7. How did Aunt Morgan affect Otis?

8. What was Joan’s purpose in the novel?

9. Talk about the following minor characters: Aunt Morgan, Shay, Abby, Jake, Carmen, Luca, Brooks’s parents, Jasper, Mr. Massey. What purpose did they serve?

10. Did this book change the way you think about wine?

11. Toward the end, Brooks’s mom tells him: “The closer you get to people, the harder it is to love them. But you have to love them anyway. You have to work at it. And you can’t walk away from them. That’s what love is.” How does this message pertain to the entire story?

12. Knowing the author did not initially intend on writing a sequel, do you think Red Mountain could have been a stand-alone novel? (Boo asks, bracing for criticism.)

13. What questions were left unanswered?

14. If you had to make assumptions as to what happened after the end of the novel, what would they be?

15. Would you consider the power of belief to be a strong element in Red Mountain? If so, how would that pertain to this somewhat controversial ending?

16. Do you find any other books/authors to be similar to Boo and his book?

17. Have you read any other books by Boo? How is Red Mountain different?

Bonus Question:

Did you wonder what Joan was doing at the doctor’s office when she ran into Otis?

Notable passages worthy of discussion:

1) Otis crossed his arms and put his head down. “If only all beginnings didn’t come with endings.”
Morgan touched his arm. “You can’t think that way.”
“It’s all I’ve ever known. My life is one big black cat crossing in front of me.”

2) Growing and making wine was the purest of art forms: to work the land all year—to work with the land all year—to bleed and sweat and toil through the seasons, to bring in the harvest and guide the juice all the way to a bottle, and to share that bottle with the world. To share the fruit of a time and place. To help people smile.

3) It was about committing to a piece of land, to an area; not simply by planting vines, but by building a community, an ecosystem where animals thrive, where healthy children are raised with great ambition; a place that people talk about all over the globe, a place chefs come to open restaurants in hopes of finding that perfect pairing or perhaps connecting with farmers to bring back an old heirloom grain. It was about creating a magical environment so that when people tasted the wines at a later time in another place, they would be transported to Red Mountain and all its greatness.

4) Joan says, “I believe there’s no good to be found in reliving memories, especially those times that hurt. And there’s certainly no sense in dreading things that might not ever happen.”

5) Joan says, “We’re going to practice visualization. If you can create something in your mind, you can create it in your physical world as well. I want you to picture yourself on this day a year from now. Picture where you are. Where you want to be. Picture what you’re wearing. All the way to your socks and shoes. What are you doing? Who are you with? What do you smell? What do you feel like? Every detail. That’s you. That can be your reality. I practice this every day. I create my own reality. We all do.”

*Apropos the above thought, Emilia fears that if she isn’t able to picture something, something or someone else will draw her destiny. How do you, the reader, feel about this notion.

© 2021 - BOO WALKER

WMBC Questions compiled by: Elaine Gallant
West Maui Book Club
May 2021