Miracles, Inc.

Miracles, Inc.

A Novel

  • reading group guide
Vernon L. Oliver, still a young man, lives in a six-by-ten cell in a Florida prison. He has chosen the needle over the chair, has no desire to smell burned flesh on the day the state snuffs out his life. When his attorney suggests he write an autobiography to generate funds to cover legal fees incurred during the appeals process, Vernon sits down to pencil and paper and begins his narrative.

Miracles, Inc., Forrester's debut novel, tells the story of a charismatic slacker in love with Harley Davidson motorcycles and Rickie Terrell, a beautiful woman who quotes poetry and will not discuss her past. They live in an RV, smoke weed and drink beer, play Scrabble late into the night. His boss, a brilliant businesswoman with a far-reaching vision, offers him the chance to make more money than he ever thought was possible. He buys into the faith-healing scheme without reservation, and so begins the journey that leads to the stunning event that changes his life forever.
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  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 272 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781439175606 | 
  • February 2011
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

CONTRARY TO NEWS REPORTS, I, Vernon L. Oliver—brother of Lucy K. Oliver and son of parents who raised their children on corn and Christianity—am not insane. Admittedly, my attorney claimed otherwise in my trial against the great State of Florida. I played along, spewed nonsense to the psychiatrist’s questions, rolled my eyes and lolled my head in front of judge and jury, but in the end, I bear no ill will against the justice system. I made a series of choices that led to nowhere good and those choices landed me in a six-by-ten cell with concrete walls and a steel frame bed.

At one time, not too... see more

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Miracles, Inc. includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.

INTRODUCTION

Vernon Oliver, a charismatic slacker and product of a troubled family, is suffering from the trauma of his sister’s death. He falls in love with Rickie Terrell, a beautiful young woman who works in a traveling carnival, quotes poetry, and will not discuss her past. Vernon soon finds himself recruited by Rickie’s mother, Miriam, to work a faith-healing scam. He buys into her scheme without reservation, and so begins the journey that leads to the stunning event that will land him on Death Row. It is in his prison cell where Vernon is able to reflect on his past and ultimately find salvation.


TOPICS AND QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION


  1. In most relationships, love evolves or devolves over time. Describe the love Vernon and Rickie have for each other. Is it healthy? Equal? Does Vernon meet Rickie's demand for loyalty?
  2. In the opening pages of Miracles, Inc., we learn that Vernon Oliver is soon to be executed for a crime he committed. With the outcome apparently settled, how is the author able to create suspense?
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About the Author

T.J. Forrester
Photo Courtesy of T. J. Forrester

T.J. Forrester

T.J. Forrester is the author of the novel Miracles, Inc., and his work has appeared in numerous literary journals. An avid long distance hiker, he has thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail, and the Continental Divide Trail in consecutive years. To learn more, visit TJForrester.com.

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