This reading group guide for Chemistry for Beginners includes discussion questions and a Q&A with author Anthony Strong. 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. For Discussion
1. Did you expect Susan, Heather, or Richard’s betrayals? How did you react to the discovery of their ulterior motives?
2. Discuss the many sexual relationships in the book (Richard and Annie, Wulf and Rhona, Annie and Simon, Steven and Annie, Susan and Heather). Were they all dysfunctional? How did sex affect their work environment? Similarly, discuss the romantic relationships throughout the story (Annie and Simon, Steven and Annie, Julian and Heather). Were any of them what they seemed?
3. How did the inclusion of Miss G.’s blog help to frame the story? Did hearing directly from her enlighten you and add to the story, or could you already adequately determine her perspective from the main narrative?
4. Richard Collins states, “For every action there is a chemical reaction” (page 33). Discuss the cause and effect of a few actions (and subsequent reactions) within the story. Consider the revelation of Susan’s diary, Steven and Annie’s awkward dates, and the slow unraveling of the KXC79 project.