As “The Percussionist’s Wife: A Memoir of Sex, Crime & Betrayal” is prepared for publication, the final component I’ve composed is a list of discussion questions.
My memoir deals with questions of fidelity, jealously, faith and justice. I try to ask questions throughout the narrative; in some cases, I reveal my own answers and biases, but on some subjects, I make room to allow the reader to decide.
Since the book has the potential to be a talker, I’m including a book club discussion guide in the back. I need some feedback. Without having read the manuscript, do you think these questions would make for a lively discussion among members of a book club? Are they too vague or too specific? Do you think they’re written in a straight-forward manner or too complicated? If you turned to the back of the book first and read these questions, does it make you want to read the book?
- Monica Lee begins all three parts of her book with a conversation: Monica and Suzanne in Part I, Steve and Detective Oxton in Part II and Monica and Rick in Part III. What do these conversations have in common and how do they preview the section ahead?
- Discuss your thoughts about Steve. Do you despise him for his behavior? Or feel sorry for him? Was Steve’s sentence fair? Are laws regarding sex crimes too lenient or too harsh?
- Monica refers to her Catholic faith throughout the book yet participates in a Reiki experience and quotes Eastern philosophers. What role did faith and belief have in Monica’s decision making? Did her faith evolve between the time she learned of Steve’s affair with Janna and when she moved out, or did her decision-making?
- Take a moment to talk about how photographs reflected Monica’s memories such as the photos of the Halloween Clue party in Chapter 14. Do photographs capture reality or shape it?
- Now that you know Monica’s story – and have learned about how difficult it was for her to tell it – ask yourself (if not the book group): What if that had been me? What would I have done?
- Monica ends the story right after she meets a new man. Are you left with questions about the author – about her past before Steve? Her current marriage? Other plans for the future? Why do you think she chose to end it where she did and the way she did?