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You may like to use the readers questions below for your book club for City of Strangers or The Playdate.
Questions for readers
Warning: Questions contain plot spoilers!
City of Strangers
- At the start of the book how did you feel when you realised Grace was taking pictures of a dead body? Were you shocked to discover she a reportage photographer rather than a Crime Scene photographer?
- Do you think she was right to follow the story of the dead man in her flat? Would you have done the same in her situation?
- What did you think of her relationship with the photographer? Can you understand why she was attracted to him? Did you feel differently about her once she slept with him?
- What was the purpose of the man hiding in the shop? Who did you think it was?
- Did you like the change in location? Which was the most evocative?
- The story is seen from the point of view of two different women. In what ways are they similar and dissimilar? Who did you prefer?
- The novel begins with Callie and Suzy at pond “far from the company of men.” Do you think the friendship between Callie and Suzy was a true friendship? Why or why not?
- “‘Yes….we’re going to be happy here,’ Allen said, nodding his head. It sounded like an order [Debs] thought.” Discuss how relationships are described in The Playdate in regards this quote. Are any of the couples happy? Do you think any of the couples are in love?
- What were you initial reactions to Debs? How would you describe her character? Do you like her? Why is Debs so concerned with noise? Did your feelings for her change over the course of the novel?
- What motivates Callie, Suzy, and Deb in their choices? What are they all ultimately looking for?
- Callie notices women watching her walk to lunch with her boss and a famous client: “But I realize that they see me…as someone who belongs here.” In what way does belonging—or not belonging—play a role throughout the novel? Does Callie see herself as an insider or outsider at her job? As a mother? As a friend? Do you think any other characters from The Playdate could be classified as “outsiders”?
- Discuss the mother-daughter relationship between Callie and Rae.
- The novel alternates between Suzy, Debs, and Callie’s point-of-view. How did the shift in narrative affect your reading of The Playdate? Did it help create suspense? Did it make you question the characters’ reliability or true intentions?
- Do you think there is a hero or heroine in this novel? A villain? Why or why not?
- Discuss the significance of the title. Why is a playdate so important to Callie? What does it symbolize to her? Why is Suzy so determined to keep Callie from making other friends?
- This novel includes characters who suffer with both physical and mental illnesses, discuss how these impairments can have an effect on peoples’ every day lives.
- Do you understand Suzy better, or sympathize with her, after having learned about her childhood?
- Why is Jez so popular with the women in The Playdate? Do you think that he truly loves any of them? Why or why not?
- “Can you have an end to something that had no beginning?” In what ways does Callie’s story have “no beginning?” Do you think her story has an end? Is it a happy one?
- By the end of the novel, all of the characters find their voices and speak their minds. What causes Callie to find the courage to face the truth? What allows Debs to overcome her anxiety? Do you think that Callie and Debs will ever be able to forgive Suzy? Why or why not?
- What passage from the book stood out to you the most?
- If you could ask the author a question, what would you ask her?