“The Percussionist’s Wife: A Memoir of Sex, Crime & Betrayal” raises questions of fidelity, faith and justice, and the book includes a Reading Group Discussion Guide. If you’d like to host an event or a book club meeting with Monica Lee, please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. If your book club is not in northern Illinois, you can still arrange a meeting via Skype. If you have comments or questions about the book you’d like to share, please post at comment at her Facebook fan page or send her a message.
- What specific themes did author Monica Lee emphasize throughout the memoir? What do you think she is trying to get across to the reader?
- Did certain parts of the book make you uncomfortable? If so, why did you feel that way? Did this lead to a new understanding or awareness of some aspect of your life you might not have thought about before?
- The author 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?
- How much responsibility, if any, belongs to Janna in her relationship with Steve? Would it make a difference if Steve were 24 instead of 35 when he got involved with Janna?
- Discuss your thoughts about Steve. Do you despise him for his behavior? Or feel sorry for him? Steve was charged with crimes that carried up to 15 years in prison and a $30,000 fine. He ended up getting 60 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. 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?