My review of Hilda van Stockum’s “The Winged Watchman” can be found here.

This book was a pretty straight-forward affair. The nine attendees were 12-16 years old, all had read the book at least once, and all were reasonably comfortable with each other. Ok, they were more than reasonably comfortable. We were arguing, laughing, arguing some more, and having a passionate but life-giving exchange. Without question, this was my favorite book club meeting of 2017.

Here is the simple format we used:

Open with Prayer:
Today was the Feast of St. Martin of Tours, one of the patron saints of soldiers. As we asked God to bless our time of fellowship and our discussion, we read the conversion story of Martin and asked him to pray for us.

Snack:
Traditional Dutch Cookies: Spicy Speculaas Cookies

Conversation:

  1. Mr. & Mrs. Verhagen are shocked that Leendert has become a “landwatcher.” Why is that shocking? What should a Catholic have done? Could Leendert have known what atrocities he would be compelled to commit?
  2. Let’s talk about Trixie. How did she get there? What did Mrs. Verhagen have to do to protect Trixie? What did Uncle Cor do for Trixie? Was this right?
  3. When Dirk Jan meets Charles, he tells the pilot that “we have nothing”. What does Charles say in response? What do you think of that?
  4. After discovering Charles, hiding him, lying to their parents, etc. the boys go to Confession. They did wrong things for right reasons. Does that exempt them from repenting of having to do wrong things? What advice does Fr. Kobus give to Joris in the Confessional?
  5. Joris and Mrs. Verhagen talk about lying in wartime. Mrs. Verhagen says that lying to someone like a German soldier because they would use the information to destroy lives and therefore they don’t deserve the truth. Another example of doing the wrong thing for the right reasons. Does this make it right?
  6. Who was Hildebrand? Why did Uncle Cor dislike Hildebrand? What do you think of Hildebrand?
  7. When Joris literally runs into Hendrik Schenderhans at the arms drop, Joris knows that Hendrik is a good soul but that he couldn’t be trusted. How did he know that? What happened to make him think that?
  8. Let’s reread the conversation between Joris and Fr. Kobus on pages 85-86. What do you think of that? (Cite the example of Corrie Ten Boom forgiving one of her captors after her release.)
  9. In later years, the children looked back on this time of occupation with great nostalgia. Why?