Reading Group Questions
I belong to a reading group. I will tell you the truth when I say that although we are all keen readers, we usually spend more time drinking wine and chatting than discussing the books we’ve read. My mother, on the other hand, belongs to a reading group which is much more focused and accomplished. Whichever form of reading group you belong to, I hope the following will help your discussion of DEAR THING. With or without the wine.
1. Do you think that Claire and Ben want to have a baby for the right reasons?
2. How do you feel about Ben’s decision to take up Romily’s offer? Is he acting out of selfishness, or hope?
3. Do you sympathise with Romily, or do you disagree with her decision to carry Ben and Claire’s baby? Why?
4. Did your feelings change about Claire and Romily and their decisions as the book went on?
5. ‘We are mothers. We do battle with nappies and Calpol. Look upon our offspring, ye mighty, and despair.’ What different kinds of parents and parent-figures did you notice in the book? Which can you most identify with? Do you think the portrayals are realistic?
6. What do you think are the purpose of the letters to ‘Dear Thing’? Did they change your perceptions of the two heroines? What about the final letter, at the end?
7. ‘Perhaps she should define herself by her body, her faulty body that was able to play music and bake cakes and assemble and disassemble an entire room of furniture but wasn’t able to create life.’ How do both women struggle with their feelings about their bodies?
8. What do you think is the significance of the title? Does it refer to anything other than the letters?
9. Were you satisfied with the ending of the book? What do you think the future holds in store for the two families, and their relationship with each other?
You can download a printable list of these questions here: DEAR THING book group questions