Bookclub Questions

“Brotherly Love” by Tracy Price-Thompson

1. In the opening scene of “Brotherly Love” Zana Williams is in the bathroom losing consciousness. What could compel such a smart young girl to make such a deadly decision?

2. Zana hails from an urban city where style and fashion is important. Do you think her physical beauty and her flashy manner of dress may have helped get her into her situation?

3. In the age of anonymity on the Internet and in social media, are young girls still compelled to keep quiet when they are being violated?

4. Regina Wilson is fed up with the never-ending cycle of dysfunction with her clients, and she is determined to break away while her mental and physical health is still intact. What do you think makes someone like her choose a profession where they must become involved other people’s dysfunctions? Is Regina just nosey as hell like Zana says, or does she really have a desire to help others? Do you think she would be a better social worker, or a better engineer?

5. Zeke Williams appears to be a loving, dedicated brother. What role do you think he played in his family’s dysfunction? Is Zeka a victim, like his sister?

6. Nobody knows the true circumstances surrounding the deaths of Zeke and Zana’s parents. When Regina finds out what really happened she makes a decision. Is it the right one?

7. Regina must make a career decision at the conclusion of her treatment of Zana. Is the choice she made the right one? Who actually helped who in this case?

8. Have you ever given anyone a pair of symbolic Blue Suede Shoes? Is there someone in your life who might give you a pair if you find yourself in need?

“Breaking it Down” by Desiree Cooper

1. Despite her wealth, accomplishments and power, why does CC have low self-esteem?

2. When is CC most likely to become abusive?

3. In CC’s case, how is the abuse intergenerational? Why isn’t CC able to interrupt the cycle of abuse on her own?

4. Abusers use many tools to control their victims, including: isolation, humiliation, sexual dominance, name-calling, setting confusing expectations, cultivating/luring and unpredictability. How does CC use these tactics to abuse her daughter?

5. How is abuse like an addiction?

“Breakin Dishes” by TaRessa Stovall

1. What kind of woman beats her man—and what kind of man lets his woman beat him?

2. Does Monique’s commitment to her marriage justify her actions? What does “fighting for your marriage” mean to you?

3. Why is Armstrong—such a powerful man in the public eye—so passive with his wife?

4. Is Monique a hypocrite for her work exploring women who beat their men, or is there another reason she’s so passionate about this topic?

5. What did you learn about abuse that you didn’t know before?


“The Wrong Side of Mr. Right” by Elizabeth Atkins

1.  How soon did you know that Marcus was showing signs of an abuser?

2.  Did you sympathize with Charmaigne?  Do you think she should have gotten out of the relationship sooner?  How would you have escaped?

3.  What do you think Mrs. Jacobs was trying to tell Charmaigne at the beginning of the story, about the reality of being married to a prominent, affluent man?

4.  Do you think Charmaigne’s constantly disapproving mother had any influence – whether conscious or unconscious – on her choice of a disapproving man?

5.   What steps have you taken with yourself to strengthen your mind and spirit to walk away from an abusive and/or unhealthy relationship?

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