Questions and Topics for Discussion
1. Why did Paul and Roz Mellow keep a copy of Pleasuring
where they knew the children could, and most likely would, find it? Did they fully understand the consequences of how the book might affect their children, especially 6-year-old Claudia and 8-year-old Dashiell?
2. Roz "had once read a line in a book that she'd never forgotten: Women have sex so they can talk, and men talk so they can have sex"
(240). Using examples from the story, discuss the different ways in which men and women view sex, relationships, and the ways in which the two intersect.
3. How does looking at the book -- and seeing their parents in this way -- impact each of the Mellow children? What do their reactions reveal about their individual personalities? When they're re-introduced 28 years later in Chapter 2, is it apparent how the book has affected them even in adulthood?
4. How did growing up on the grounds of a psychiatric institution affect Roz, both physically and emotionally, including the incident with Warren Keyes when she was nine years old?
5. How did Paul and Roz's relationship develop from analyst and patient to lovers? What did they see in one another? What did each one get from the relationship?
6. Why do you suppose the author chose to have Thea starring in a play about Sigmund Freud, the most famous of psychoanalysts, and his patient Dora?
7. Claudia and Michael