Suggested Questions for Book Clubs
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Below you will find a list of suggested book club questions, many compiled from the author’s numerous book club presentations and community speaking engagements.
- Can you imagine any scenario wherein a loving parent would take the life of his or her child?
- Do you believe Sam was temporarily insane at the time he committed the crime to which he freely confessed?
- If Sam intended to die alongside his child, why didn’t he use the two remaining bullets in his gun?
- If Sally went willingly with her father on the morning of her death, then why didn’t she sign the murder/suicide note herself? How much of her illness, and the nature of life within an asylum, do you think Sally understood?
- What role does shame play in this story?
- Do you believe Sam’s background as an immigrant influenced his decision in any way?
- In your opinion, was Sam’s act one of courage, compassion, or temporary insanity?
- Was the judge’s sentence in this case appropriate to the crime?
- Do you do think Sam would be given a prison sentence, rather than probation, if his crime were to take place today?
- Assuming other Levin family members knew, or suspected, Sam’s intentions on the morning of Sally’s death, why didn’t they try to stop this tragedy from happening?
- Do you feel the author’s grandmother had a role in the decision to end Sally’s life? If so, in what way(s)? If not, why?
- Why do you think the author’s mother left town just days before Sally was scheduled for commitment?
- Is “mercy killing” ever a justifiable act? If so, was it justified in this instance?
- In what way(s) has medical treatment of the mentally ill advanced over the years?
- Has the stigma of mental illness lessened since the time of Sally’s death? If so, in what way(s)?