Book Club Questions


Spoiler Alert: Read the questions after you have read the book.

The following questions are designed to help your Book Club discuss Over There. You can use them verbatim or as a springboard to develop your own areas to explore.

If your Book Club is in its infancy, you may find this website helpful:


  1. In Over There, we learn very little about his education, occupation or married life. Why did the author write so little about James “Jimmy” Adair’s adult life?
  2. Why is Jimmy preoccupied with the romantic status of Lt. West and Olivette Normandin? He uses the term “shacking up” and hopes that doesn’t describe their relationship. Why?
  3. Were you shocked at the description of the visit to Dachau? In particular, what was your reaction to the U.S. soldiers who shot down the Nazi guards once they had seen the Dachau inmates and learned of their life at the camp?
  4. Jimmy tells Lt. West’s daughter that West was “the kindest man he’d ever known.” Why does Jimmy think that? Why do you think that Jimmy never met anyone better in the years since the war ended?
  5. How did Jimmy grow as a person in the novel? And as a member of the Monuments team of Lt. West, Olivette Normandin and Jimmy?
  6. Over There is told as a long flashback bookended by the present day at the beginning and end of the book. Do you think this was an effective way to tell Jimmy’s story?
  7. What was the most significant thing Jimmy learned from his time as a driver for Lt. West and Olivette Normandin?
  8. Why do you think that neither Lt. West nor Olivette Normandin ever contacted Jimmy after the war? Do you think West and Olivette knew the impact of their silence on Jimmy?
  9. What part did religion play in the book? Consider Jimmy’s religious upbringing, his reaction to the religious artwork he sees, his judgment of West and Normandin’s relationship, his feelings about the behavior of his fellow soldiers.
  10. Do you think that 19-year-old soldiers going to war today are as “young” as Jimmy Adair?
Over There
By R.J. Reilly

Hard cover

Soft cover

Available in ebook format