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Wicked Good Book Club May Pick

The May pick for the Wicked Good Book Club is the psychological thriller Sunrise and the Real World by Martha Tod Dudman, and the meeting will happen on Wednesday May 29 at 6 p.m. at the South Portland Books-A-Million.

cover of sunrise and the real world

When Lorraine, a recent college graduate, starts work at a residential treatment center for troubled teens, she quickly finds herself absorbed into a world very distant from the idyllic lobsters-and-lighthouses fairy tale she had always associated with Maine. Instead, she discovers a landscape of abused and angry teenagers, illicit romance, and danger. Still, she grows to love the place and its people until events shatter her confidence in the world and her own morality. Years later, disheartened and battered by life, Lorraine is unexpectedly drawn back to that world to confront the person she was, the choices she made, and the bitter ghosts that still haunt her. In Sunrise and the Real World, Martha Tod Dudman has penned a taut and spellbinding coming-of-age novel that will stay with you long into the night.

Martha Tod Dudman lives in Maine and is the author of Dawn, Expecting to Fly, Black Olives, and Augusta, Gone, which was adapted as an award-winning film.

Purchase your copy at Books-A-Million or order here.


Discussion Questions

  • How likable is Lorraine as a narrator? How much does her likeability, or unlikeability, influence her actions and the consequences she faces?

  • The shifting line between who is good and who is bad is a dominant theme of the novel. How does the passage of time impact Lorraine’s sense of morality? Has society’s sense of morality changed since the 1970’s?

  • Mount Desert Island, Northeast Harbor, and Acadia National Park play a pivotal role in the first part of the novel, and characters frequently find themselves isolated within nature. What does this say about the characters? What does this say about the way the novel explores the theme of nature?

  • In the end, Lorraine appears to see her daughter meeting her on the path. Did you think this was real or a delusion? Why? What does this represent, and why is this so important?


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The Wicked Good Book Club is a partnership between Books-A-Million and Islandport Press that aims to highlight Maine literature and connect readers through monthly book clubs.

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