For Book Clubs

Thank you for reading YOU ARE FREE TO GO. I love speaking to book clubs, so if you’re in CNY, invite me to your group. If you’re far away, I can try to unearth my Skype handle. Here are some discussion questions you might find useful…

YAFTG Discussion Questions

Jorge is an old, forgotten prisoner. How and why does his death affect the characters in YAFTG?

What does Moses want and fear? How does his imprisonment change over the course of the story?

Gina is smart, talented, and well educated, yet she pursues men relentlessly. Why does she do this?

Separate is an illusion. How do the lives lived on the inside of the prison intersect with those on the outside? How might prisons have unintended consequences for families and communities?

While Gina, Shell and Ellen walk free, they live troubled, isolated lives: Why?

What does the book show about freedom? Is it an internal or external experience?

Here’s a wonky after-wine challenge that only the (super nerdy) author would ever ask you to care about:

In a panoptic prison, an inmate can be observed at all times, but the prisoner can’t see the observer. French philosopher Michel Foucault postulates that the panoptic prison is the perfect metaphor for the modern, self-policing society. In other words, people follow the rules because they believe they are being watched and they want to conform to expectations because they fear being caught or judged. Shell and her husband are making a movie called Panoptic, so this exists as a quiet theme in the book.

In light of this,…

How do the characters in YAFTG modulate their behavior in order to meet external expectations?

Which character is affected the most by this self-policing?

How does this modulation of behavior affect you or people that you know?

How might this affect one’s freedom and sense of self?