After Anna: Questions for Book Clubs

  1. After Anna is told in alternating perspectives and several different timelines. What did you think of this unique structure and what did it add to your reading experience?
  2. Maggie was separated from Anna after suffering a severe bout of postpartum psychosis, an extreme form of postpartum depression. In the real world, as in After Anna, postpartum depression often goes untreated or is considered shameful. Why do you think there is so much stigma surrounding these illnesses? What can we do to help better support new mothers?
  3. Anna was used as a pawn by her father, and he wielded his power and money, and even lied to Anna to keep her away from Maggie. What do you think motivated him to do it? What do you think his motivation was for doing it? What was your initial reaction when Maggie learned the truth about Anna’s father? Were you instantly suspicious, or did you believe Anna’s explanation? How did that affect your opinion of Anna throughout the rest of the novel?
  4. Throughout the trial sections of the novel, damning evidence against Noah begins to build, from texts on his phone to official government documents. Were you convinced by the evidence? Why or why not? Did you think he was guilty – of murder or anything else?
  5. When Anna enters their home, Maggie and Noah have to renegotiate their parental boundaries and the household rules. How do you manage this in your own household? How does Anna having a large amount of money complicate this, and how do you think you would navigate a similar situation? Is there a right or wrong way to go about it?
  6. On page 81, Anna’s lawyer says, “Every girl needs a mother, doesn’t she?” Who do you turn to when you need mothering, whether your biological mother or someone else? Do you think we ever grow out of needing our mother?
  7. When did you begin to get suspicious of Anna’s erratic behavior? What struck you as particularly odd? How do you think your understanding of the novel would change if you read it again, knowing the outcome?
  8. What do you think about the ethics of Kathy and Maggie looking through Anna’s books for notes – are teenagers entitled to a certain level of privacy? Was it right, wrong, or more complicated than that? Why do you think this?
  9. Near the end of the novel, Maggie thinks that she must push through, “Because she was a mother, and she had a job to do.” Where can you see this theme of what mothers would do for their daughters throughout the book? What kind of power do you think there is in a mother/daughter bond?
  10. What did you think of the ending of the novel? Did you see it coming or were you completely blindsided? Did it change your understanding of the rest of the novel?