For Reading Groups
† Lying with Strangers:† For Reading Groups
© Copyright James Grippando 2005.† All rights reserved.
Isnít it about time that your reading group read a real page turner?† Here are some discussion topics for Lying with Strangers that are sure to spice up your next meeting.
- What do you think is the meaning behind the title, Lying with Strangers?†† Is it about sleeping with people we donít know?† Deceiving people we only think we know?† Both?† Something else?† ††
- There are three less-than-perfect marriages in Lying with Strangers:† Payton and Kevin, Paytonís parents, Tony and Jennifer.† Which is the most flawed?† Which is the strongest?† Why?† Does your view change over the course of the story?
- Paytonís mother has an insensitive way of dispensing advice, but she seems to believe that a woman should never marry a man who is less intelligent than she is.† Is there any validity to this view?† Is the "intelligence gap" dangerous to a relationship?† Is it more or less difficult when the woman is smarter than the man?
- Kevin is jealous over Paytonís continued friendship with Gary Varnes because "old lovers can never be just friends."† Is Kevin right?† Even if heís dead wrong, is it okay for a married man or woman to continue a friendship with an old lover when that relationship really bothers his or her spouse?†
- Did you like Payton?† What didnít you like about her?† Why do you think she has no real girlfriends?† Is Gary right when he says that she treats him like the girlfriend she doesnít have?† Could you be friends with a woman like Payton?
- Payton admits to herself that she has been deceptive, but she also knows that she has been deceived.† When reflecting on her motherís story about losing a baby in childbirth, Payton observes that "[t]here is a strange commonality between lying and being lied to:† they both seem to drain the soul."† What do you think Payton meant by this statement?† Do you agree with it?
- It seems that everyone is ultimately guilty of some level of deception in Lying with Strangers.† Who is the most honest character?† Who is the most dishonest?††
- As Payton learns, the Internet is filled with people pretending to be something or someone theyíre not.† Do you have an Internet "chat" experience that youíre willing to share?† Do you know someone who has?†
- The heckler at Kevinís first book signing tells Kevin that he has "sealed someoneís fate" by writing his novel, even though it is a work of fiction.† Should a writer ever worry about life imitating art?†††††
- Payton turns to her father for guidance on how to forgive infidelity.† He tells her that it made no difference to him that Paytonís mother told him about her affair.† "Her contrition made it possible for my ego to get out of the way," he says. "But that has nothing to do with forgiveness.† I forgave her because I loved her."† Does it make a difference if the guilty spouse confesses?† Or, as Paytonís father says, does true forgiveness really come down to a question of Do I still love this person, or donít I?†