Topics for Discussion
Interview with the Author
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Book Club and Reading Group Guide
Topics for Discussion
- Do children respond more to nature or to nurture? Will Zack, Susan, or
Miranda be able to overcome the secrets of their childhoods, or will they
always be limited to some degree?
- What is the nature of personal rebellion? Is it Susan's principal
motivating factor? Is rebellion at the heart of Miranda's desire to be with
Zack? Is it Zack's attraction to Miranda or to Cynthia?
- Can abuse in childhood be overcome? Can it be healed? What does Miranda
have to heal about her childhood? What does Susan have to overcome?
- What are the key issues a young Native American woman must deal with?
How does racial prejudice and genocide in one's ancestry affect one's sense
of place and identity?
- What makes a person a true individual? What choices is Miranda making
that fall into an expected pattern? What might she do to establish her own
identity without being trapped in reacting to her parents?
- Sometimes a parent is unwittingly abusive to his or her child. Can this
be healed when the child is grown? What can Samantha do to help her son, if
she finds him? Would it be appropriate for Susan's father to reappear in her
- Are secrets an important and necessary part of life? When are secrets
good? When are they bad? Which characters have destructive secrets?
- What is the basic nature of the relationship between women and their
mothers? Is it essentially competitive or supportive? How does Glenda
support her daughter Sally? How does Very interfere with her daughter
- In addition to her work as an author, Mara Purl co-produced the audio
book "The Hidden Legacy" about child abuse, and serves on the advisory board
for Haven House, a shelter for victims of domestic violence. How does her
awareness of these issues come into play in her novels?
- Why is this book called Child Secrets? Is this a reference to Sally's
pregnancy? What secrets do we learn about Samantha's missing child? Which do
we learn about Miranda's childhood and how do they affect her now? How did
you react to secrets as a child? Have you discovered things as an adult
which surprised you about your own childhood?