Hold Me Closer: The Tiny Cooper Story (Book Club Discussion Questions)

A reminder, all our book club discussion questions contain spoilers

SynopsisHold me closer cover

Hold Me Closer is the script for a musical. It is presented as autobiographical non-fiction, but Tiny was a supporting character in Will Grayson, Will Grayson, a novel written in alternating chapters by David Levithan and John Green. The script is a coming of age story set in a modern American high school. Many of the events toward the end of the play mirror those in the novel, but are reinterpreted.


The author makes the point that people are born gay aggressively, by suggesting that Tiny is interested in stereotypically gay things from birth. Does this suggestion that stereotypical homosexuality is essential, rather than cultural, stratify the homosexual community?

Oscar Wilde makes several entries into the plot. Does his attraction to partners who were unacceptably young taint him as a spiritual mentor? Does his slowly-developing understanding of his homosexuality seem at odds with songs like “Big Gay Baby”?

Does the Americaness of the setting detract from the book for international audiences, or are we familiar with it from other media?

In this story, are all the young women wise and all of the young men idiots? What purpose does this trope serve?

Does it matter than the songs often do not have true rhymes, and that they break rhythm for emphasis?

Is this a poetry anthology in disguise?

Is the story strong enough to carry itself without reading Will Grayson, Will Grayon?

Questions for those who have read Will Grayson, Will Grayson

Which is the more genuine version of Will: the one he presents in the novel, or the one his best friend presents here?

How does Jane change between the book and novel. Why?

Will, in his book, does not understand what drives Tiny, until an emotional confrontation toward the conclusion. In this book, what does Tiny get wrong about Phil?

Useful links

The Library Service has copies of this book.

The publisher’s site contains some support materials.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson has been reviewed in a previous post.