If you would like me to attend your book club meeting by Skype or Facetime, please write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will be happy to discuss Appetite, or my writing process, or how I began to write fiction in my sixties. Or if you prefer, send me questions and I’ll address them when we meet.
Here are some questions about Appetite for discussion. You can download them, below, in a pdf.
1. As sometimes happens in marriages, Paul and Maggie Adler take different approaches to things. When it comes to desire, Paul is greedy while Maggie habitually abstains. Does your opinion change from the beginning to the end of the story about which of them leads a more successful life?
2. The story is told in two different voices, in alternating chapters that merge only at the end of the book. Did you enjoy the alternation? What are the strengths and weaknesses of this format?
3. Maggie and Paul both object to their daughter’s plan to marry a “stranger.” How much of the conflict between Jenn and her parents stems from generational differences between Millennials and Baby Boomers? How much stems from the specifics of their characters? Discuss the trickiness of being a parent to a young adult.
4. Sarah and Maggie became friends in college, and although their lives took different trajectories—and Sarah could never stand Paul—the friendship persisted. What do the two women mean to each other? Will Sarah ever settle down, and would it affect the relationship?
5. Paul runs his own laboratory in the highly competitive environment of scientific research. He disagrees with his peers, who are following a trend in “personalized medicine” that, he believes, misleads the public. Is the way Paul handles his staff justified, given the potential importance of his work for elucidating cancer?
6. Paul dislikes Robert Stamford, who oversees all research at the hospital, although they were once colleagues. What’s behind this dislike? Why does Stamford help Hope Caldwell leave Paul’s employ? Is Paul’s growing animosity understandable?
7. Jenn tells her parents that although her fiancé Arun’s way of thinking doesn’t quite match her own, his methods work wonders with children—and with her, too—and she wants to devote herself to his work. What is it about Arun that appeals to Jenn? His philosophy? His person? The lure of the exotic? Leaving the past behind? Is she wise to follow him half way around the world?
8. Maggie tolerated her husband’s infidelity yet observed her marriage vows until shortly after Jenn’s return. Why did she take up with Brian Sayler, and then why abandon him? Did she make a mistake?
9. What do you suppose happens after the book ends? Does Maggie come back from India? If so, to what? What does Paul do, either with or without her, at the lab? Do Jenn and Arun make their school work? Will their marriage blossom?