This reading group guide for People Person 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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If you could choose your family . . . you wouldn’t choose the Penningtons.
Dimple Pennington knows of her half siblings, but she doesn’t really know them. They’re people who don’t have anything in common except for faint memories of being driven through Brixton in their dad’s gold Jeep, and some pretty complex abandonment issues. Besides, Dimple has bigger things to think about.
She’s thirty, and her life isn’t really going anywhere. An aspiring lifestyle influencer with a terrible and wayward boyfriend, Dimple’s world has shrunk to the size of a phone screen. And despite a small but loyal following, she’s never felt more alone. That is, until a dramatic event brings her half siblings Nikisha, Danny, Lizzie, and Prynce crashing back into her life. And when they’re all forced to reconnect with Cyril Pennington, the absent father they never really knew, things get even more complicated.
From an author with “a flair for storytelling that appears effortlessly authentic” (Time
), People Person
is a vibrant and charming celebration of discovering family as an adult. Topics & Questions for Discussion
1. “Although he was, unknowingly, a master of detachment, Cyril saw himself as more of a people person than a father” (p. 1). The titular phrase is discussed multiple times throughout the novel—what is your interpretation of a “people person”? Why do you think Cyril describes himself this way despite having complex relationships with almost every character?
2. Early on the five Pennington siblings are introduced to one another for the first time at their father’s insistence. Despite his lack of involvement in their lives, Cyril is taken aback when the outing doesn’t go how he expected. Why do you think he was so adamant for the children to meet? If the interaction went well do you think it would’ve changed his relationship with his children?
3. The siblings all have distinct personalities that create an interesting dynamic between the five of them. What were your first impressions of the Pennington children? Did you like them?
4. The novel is told from Dimple’s point of view: Why do you think the author decided to tell the story this way? Do you think the story would change if it was told through a different character’s perspective? Why or why not?
5. In Chapter three, Dimple’s four siblings help her deal with the Kyron incident. Most of them have little to no communication with one another prior to this, yet they all come to Dimple’s aid. Why do you think they decide to help?
6. Out of the five siblings only Nikisha and Prynce grew up together. How do you think that impacts the characters as they start to develop meaningful relationships with one another? If all the siblings got to be raised together, do you think their dynamic would be different?
7. The children’s four mothers all had a very different relationships with Cyril, greatly informing their respective parenting styles. This becomes even more evident when the women run into one another at the nine night. How do you think these experiences impacted each Pennington childs’ perception of Cyril and their siblings?
8. Carty-Williams writes in chapter nine: “You aren’t a bad person, you did what you had to do. Women are just made to feel bad for making the choices that they need to make. . . . Stand in your choices, little sister. That’s all the advice I can offer you.” Why do you think that was important for Dimple to hear from Nikisha?
9. We come to learn that Cyril was raised by his grandparents and aunt in Jamaica for most of his childhood before he was sent to England to live with his mother, Delores, and her new husband and kids. In what ways do you think Cyril’s upbringing impacted the relationship he’s decided to have with his own family?
10. Nikisha gives the eulogies at both the funerals and explains she does so because she is the eldest. Were you surprised that she delivered the speeches? Do you believe her reasoning for taking on that responsibility? Why or why not?
11. Identity and belonging are reoccurring themes in People Person
that Dimple must navigate. How do these themes develop throughout the novel? What is the greatest influence on Dimple’s journey to discovering herself?
12. Dimple reflects on the fact that outside of her mom she doesn’t have any friends. How has this loneliness informed her decisions over the course of her life? Enhance Your Book Club
1. In the book that Dimple loves astrology and uses it to better understand the people around her, especially her siblings. As a group, look up your zodiac signs and discuss if you think they are accurate representations of each other.
2. Music plays a significant part in Cyril’s life and creates one of the few positive memories his children associate with him. Pick one song that you feel best represents each Pennington child. Make a playlist and have your book club guess which song you picked for each character.
3. Although the novel primarily follows Dimple, People Person
is a story filled with a cast of fascinating characters. If you could pick any other character besides Dimple to be the main character in a new book, who would it be? Discuss why you picked that character and what story you’d like to be told.