The Married Couple - Book Club Questions

Warning! These questions contain spoilers!

1.   Did the reference to ‘behind closed doors’ hold any significance for you? What has it come to mean in today’s society?

2.   According to statistics, 1.9 million adults aged 16 to 59 are victims of domestic abuse. Of these, 700,000 are male.  Do you think this is a true reflection of today’s society? Discuss whether and why you believe this figure is on the rise.

3.   To what extent do you feel sympathetic towards Michelle?

4.   How do the various forms of domestic abuse appear throughout the story?

5.   Did the couple have a marriage worth saving? Is there anything that might have helped them?

6.   The novel has occasionally used differing viewpoints for the duration of a chapter. How have you found this, as a reader?

7.   What was the difference in tone and emotion when you compare the ‘past’ backstory to the unfolding ‘present’ story? How have they been linked together?

8.   Who are the ‘victims’ and ‘villains’ in the novel? Where are the grey areas?

9.   What are your thoughts in relation to ‘blacking out’ and ‘becoming mute’ in terms of memory retrieval?

10. How might the outcome have differed if Alana didn’t exist?

11. How does your own emotion connect you to the story?

12. Discuss the relationship between Michelle and her daughter, Emily.

13. What do you think will become of Paul next?

14. To what extent do you agree or disagree with David’s comments in the epilogue?

15. How can the effects of the trauma Emily has suffered be minimised as she grows older? What will she need?

16. How does society deal with the subject of self-harming? What do you think are the reasons behind it starting and continuing?

17. What could have happened within this story which could have brought about a happier ending?