Discussion Questions

For Luis Alberto Urrea's newest book, The House of Broken Angels

Questions by Sarah Phelan, Whitman County Library

Warning - spoiler alert!


What impact did growing up with Don Antonio as a father have on Big Angel, Little Angel, and the next generation?


Who would be the best replacement for Big Angel as the De la Cruz family patriarch or matriarch?


Little Angel struggled with his identity as a Mexican and a “gringo” his entire life. Does he ever resolve this conflict?


How much does your culture and country of origin shape who you are?


Did the family ever recover from the deaths of Braulio and Guillermo? Should Lalo have killed the responsible party when he had a chance?


Big Angel wanted to work hard and make something of himself, partly to prove himself to his father. Did Big Angel idolize or hate Don Antonio?


What role did sacrifice play in this novel? Which character’s sacrifice(s) struck you as most significant?


Was the De la Cruz family’s resentment toward Little Angel and his mother justified, especially after learning how Don Antonio left his first family destitute?


Do you believe Yndio was really the cause of Don Antonio’s heart attack?


Urrea clearly demonstrates how the past influences each character’s present. Which character’s past were you most intrigued by?


Big Angel and Little Angel seem to have a love/ hate relationship. Did you notice any other dysfunctional relationship(s)?


While everyone was thanking Big Angel at his birthday party for all the good things he has done, were you surprised by these acts? Have his good deeds outweighed the bad? What is Big Angel’s legacy?