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Book Club Questions for The Improbable Life of Ricky Bird


1. Ricky’s storytelling is central to the novel. Is Ricky a storyteller or a liar? Why?
2. The garden holds a special place in Ricky’s and Ollie’s life. What is its significance?
3. On page 23, Ricky describes the feeling of blending with nature: ‘She only had to still her mind and focus to connect with the wordless purpose of nature. It was like slipping, sinking and blending.’ Why is this, and why does she feel she is losing this ability?
4. Why does Ricky keep spending time with Caitlin when it’s clear she is not a friend?
5. There are several opportunities for Ricky to open up to her parents. What is stopping her?
6. Why does Ricky feel guilty and ashamed about many things that happen over the summer?

7. Ricky has several conversations with Ollie while he is ill, but she later learns he was sedated the entire time. Why do you think she imagined these conversations?


8. In some of Ricky’s toughest times she finds support from Katie, her workshop facilitator. Have you had a similar experience with a person, perhaps a teacher or colleague, outside your family and friends?


9. The Camden estate is central to the novel and Ricky’s story. Do you think Ricky’s experiences would have been different had her family remained in their old home? How?



The Improbable Life of Ricky Bird

If you were charmed by The Curious Incident, laughed with Eleanor Oliphant and cried over A Man Called Ove, you will love Ricky Bird.

No one loved making forts more than Ricky. A fort was a place of safety and possibility. It shut out the world and enclosed her and Ollie within any story she wanted to tell ...

Ricky Bird loves making up stories for her brother Ollie almost as much as she loves him. The imaginary worlds she creates are wild and whimsical places full of unlimited possibilities.

Real life is another story. Ricky’s father has abandoned them and the family has moved to a bleak new neighbourhood. Worse still, her mother’s new boyfriend, Dan, has come with the furniture.

But Ricky Bird is a force to be reckoned with. As the mastermind of so many outlandish adventures, her imagination is her best weapon. As her father used to say, if you can spin a good yarn you can get on in life.

The trouble is that in the best stories characters sometimes take on a life of their own and no one, not even Ricky, is able to imagine the consequences.

Beautifully written, heartbreakingly funny and deeply moving, this book has already been compared to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, Lost and Found, Shuggie Bain, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine and A Monster Calls. But Ricky’s story is all her own – and it will stay with you long after the last page.

‘Fierce and wonderful and utterly singular, Ricky embodies the sheer joy and transformative power of storytelling.’ Kate Mildenhall, author of The Mother Fault and Skylarking

‘A wise, tender but unflinching portrait of an ordinary family and the unordinary girl at its heart. Ricky – fragile, tough, endearing and funny – is a fabulous creation. She'll walk around in my world all year, and more.’ Kristina Olsson, award-winning author of Shell and Boy, Lost