Damaged: Questions for Book Clubs

  1. The title DAMAGED is appropriate for this book on many levels.  In what ways do you relate the title to the different aspects of the story?
  2. While DAMAGED is set within the Philadelphia School District, so many school systems across America are are equally as stretched and struggling.  What do you think should be done to improve our nation’s schools?  Besides additional funding, what other ways can we support our teachers?
  3. Mary has a strong and surprising reaction to John, the first, and only, male lawyer in the firm, when he offers to help.  What do you think caused her to act so out of character?  Do you think her response would have been the same if it were one of the female lawyers offering help?  Why, or why not?
  4. Patrick has a learning disability what has led to severe anxiety.  More and more children are being diagnosed with issues such as ADHD, anxiety, and learning problems and much has been speculated in regard to the causes.  Why do you think there is such a rise in the number of children with these disorders?  Do you think there is any validity to the idea that we are just doing a better job at diagnosing children, not necessarily that so many more children have problems?  In what ways do you think the system is helping these children, and in what ways are they letting them down?
  5. Mary (like Lisa) loves with all her heart, and attaches easily.  Were you surprised by Mary’s decision in regard to Patrick?  How would you have reacted if you were Anthony?  What did you think of Anthony’s surprise for Mary?  What did you think of her reaction?  How do you juggle your obligations to your birth family versus your created family?  Who do you think should come first, and are there any times when that priority can, or should, shift?
  6. Being a working, single mom, Lisa was fortunate to have her parents’ help with Francesca after school, which created an incredible relationship between Francesca and her grandparents. Patrick is being raised by his grandfather, which has now become a very common situation in America.  What are your thoughts about this?  Do you think it is the grandparent’s responsibility to step in and raise a child when the parents are unable?  In what ways are grandparents better equipped to raise a grandchild, and in what ways are they disadvantaged?  How does the grandparent becoming the parent hurt or enhance the typically special grandchild/grandparent bond?  What kind of relationship did you, or do you, have with your grandparents?
  7. Although Mary is a now partners with Bennie and bills more than she, Mary is still is deferential to Bennie.  Since Bennie started the firm, do you think it is appropriate that Mary concedes to her?  Why, or why not?  The women at Rosato & DiNunzio are very protective and supportive of each other, but that is not always the case in the corporate world.  Why do you think this is?  Do you think the camaraderie amongst the women is so strong because there were no men in the firm until recently?  In what ways can women be more supportive to other women, and why is it so important?
  8. Lisa always has terrific secondary characters, and Machiavelli is a true original.  What did you think of him as a character?  What about as a lawyer?  Would you want him representing you on a tough case?  Why, or why not?  Do you think he crossed the line with his legal strategies, or was he just pulling out all the stops for his client?
  9. Lisa has always known and promoted the importance of reading, but she learned a lot while researching the book, including how fundamental reading is to self esteem.  In what ways do you think reading is important?  Do you have creative ideas on how we can get children to read?  What was your favorite book as a child?  What is your child’s favorite book?  How have your reading habits changed over the years?
  10. For fun, let’s talk wedding!  What kind of dress did you imagine Mary would wear on her wedding day?  What about the bridesmaids’ dresses?  Who do you think will cry the most at Mary’s wedding?  Who will make the biggest scene?  Who will be the craziest dancer?  Who will catch the bouquet?  When they eventually go on a honeymoon, where do you think Mary and Anthony will go?