Social media enthusiasts know the most interesting content is often found in the comments section, rather than the original posting. Social worker and educator David Glover knows it too. The provocative questions he poses on his Facebook page and his radio podcast ask for, and receive, diverse opinions on everything from relationships to racism. The answers Glover gets—raw, unedited, and often emotional—are collected here in print form, a choice that allows readers to pause for deeper consideration of the issues Glover raises, but also restricts their ability to respond.
Glover’s questions come embedded in short vignettes, or scenarios, designed to provoke a response. A scene in the “Family” section of the book, for example, features a character named Ray talking with the guys at the barbershop about his wife’s sexual indiscretions. When one of the guys asks Ray a very explicit question, he takes off in a huff. The follow-up question posed is: What will happen when Ray gets home to his wife? Answers come in all flavors, from inspirational Bible quotes, to frank advice that Ray just “shut up” and forgive his wife. Glover summarizes each discussion with an analysis of the issues, the protagonist’s possible actions and the likely consequences.
Seventy-six scenarios appear here, all in the same format. While one can imagine trying out some of the questions at an actual cocktail party as a provocative icebreaker, they fall somewhat flat as a collection of neatly wrapped up thought experiments. Grammar and spelling mistakes that readers may accept as a given in an online environment are jarring and distracting on the published page. And the back-and-forth comments between conversation participants seem harder to follow on the page than they do online.
Though the vitality of the social media that spawned Glover’s direct style and the strong responses it evokes is lost in this more static format, the ideas he presents are nonetheless current, controversial, and definitely worth talking about.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.