This reading group guide for Monday’s Lie includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book. Introduction
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Dee Aldrich and her brother, Simon, grew up with the trappings of a conventional suburban household. In reality, however, their childhood was anything but normal. Raised by a mother, Annette, who moonlighted as a covert operative for a clandestine government agency, Dee and Simon traded board games for spy games and endured Annette’s unexplained absences for weeks or months at a time.
As an adult, Dee rebelled against her unusual upbringing by marrying her cookie-cutter college boyfriend and settling for a stable office job. Later she is shocked to discover that her husband is not who he says he is, and that the normal life she’s so carefully constructed is starting to crumble. Now, years after her mother’s death, Dee finds herself relying on Annette’s lessons in investigation, deception, and—most importantly—survival. Topics & Questions for Discussion
1. The book opens with the scene of Annette leaving for the Long Trip. How did the Long Trip change Dee and pave the way for Monday's Lie
2. Dee recalls several of Annette’s aphorisms throughout the novel, from “You can buy more advantage with audacity than you can with a million bucks”
(p. 9) to “Don’t be stupid. Under the guillotine, you’re only one hundred percent sure the blade has dropped when your severed head is staring back at its stump”
(p. 187). Did any one in particular resonate with you, and why?
3. On page 16 Annette tells her children, “I never
told you not
to lie, baby girl. . . . I’ll only warn you to hate it.” The pervasiveness of deception is a major theme in Monday’s Lie
; in fact, all of the characters could be considered liars. In your opinion, what does the novel say about lying? Is lying immoral, or is it a necessary evil?
4. Regarding the falling out with her sister, Annette tells her children, “The very worst regrets are the things you couldn’t have handled any other way” (p. 51). Do you agree with this statement? Have you ever regretted a decision that you would make again if given the chance?
5. Annette’s legacy is both a blessing and a curse for Dee. In what ways does Annette empower and/or inhibit her from beyond the grave? Discuss your favorite scene where Dee’s actions reflect her mother’s influence.
6. When Dee finds out about Angela shortly after Patrick discovers she’s still on birth control, Dee thinks, “I couldn’t tell which one of us was worse” (p. 97). At this point in the novel, who did you think was more forgivable? How would you weigh Dee’s transgression against Patrick’s?
7. Throughout the novel, Dee offers up several explanations for not wanting to get pregnant. Ultimately, Patrick tells her, “Deep down you know those pills weren’t even about me. You knew not to trust your own body with any more life” (p. 263). Do you agree with this statement? Why do you think Dee didn’t want to have a child?
8. How did your impression of Patrick evolve over the course of the novel? Were you surprised to discover that he had planned Dee’s murder? Why or why not?
9. On page 146 Mason writes, “[F]or all the times we had spoken of our mother’s work, those were the only times I could remember Simon not seeming quite Simon-like to me. He had a wall around what he felt about her and how he regarded the off-center strangeness of our plain-picture upbringing.” How did you interpret this statement when you first read it, and what was your reaction when you found out that Simon was working with Paul? Were you surprised?
10. During her final showdown with Patrick, Dee thinks, “I am the only one who knows that neither of us has ever existed. Not the us we’ve shown to the world, or to each other” (p. 254). Who do you think the “real” Dee is? In what ways has she misrepresented her true self?
11. “Life is choices. And sometimes other people’s choices even more than your own” (p. 22). Annette’s statement in this early scene resonates throughout the novel. How do the choices of others impact the course of Dee’s life?
12. What do you think happens beyond the ending of the book? What do you want Dee to do?
13. Why do you think Mason chose the Napoléon quote for the novel’s epigraph? Has your interpretation of this quote changed now that you’ve finished the book? Do you think Monday’s Lie
supports or disputes Napoléon’s words? Enhance Your Book Club
1. Watch a movie about espionage and discuss the portrayal of that spy’s personal life in the film with that of Monday’s Lie.
Which do you feel is more realistic?
2. Cast the film version of Monday’s Lie.
Which actors would you want to play the main characters, and why?
3. Read Jamie Mason’s first book, Three Graves Full.
Discuss which novel was your favorite, and why.
4. Find out more about Mason by following her on Facebook at facebook.com/JamieMason.writer, on Twitter at @Jamiemason , or by visiting her website at www.jamie-mason.com.