Reading Group Guide
1. Meredith frequently refers to numbers throughout the novel -- how many tiles there are in the bathroom, the amount of multivitamins she takes, and four being her "safety number." Why does Meredith find such comfort in numbers?
2. Discuss the theme of paralysis in Such a Pretty Girl and how it applies to each character.
3. "Ms. Mues shields me just to thwart my father. She doesn't really care for me. She's a plotter, a planner and what better way to avenge her son than to destroy her enemy's daughter? To gain my trust and use me to achieve her goal, much like my father used Andy..." (page 73). Do you think this is true? What is Ms. Mues's motivation for moving into Meredith's neighborhood?
4. "Four is my best number, but there are four years between my parents too, and I would rather fall down dead than find out we're anything like them" (page 74). How is the relationship between Andy and Meredith different than the relationship between Meredith's parents? Do you think Meredith is repeating her mother's mistake?
5. "A victim soul is a pious individual chosen to absorb the suffering o f others" (page 86). Who do you think acts as the victim soul in this novel? Does this person accept his/her role willingly?
6. "Andy's demons chase him just as hard as yours chase you" (page 114). How are Andy and Meredith different in dealing with their mutual psychological scars?
7. What is the significance of each of the recurring images in the novel: the Dumpster, the gold baseball pendant, roses, and the statue of Mary.
8. Discuss the relationship between Sharon and Charles. Why does she stay with him despite everything he's done? Meredith believes her mother will always choose her husband over her daughter. Is this true? If so, why does she want Meredith to stay with them instead of with her grandmother?
9. "It's the stuff that no one sees that does the most damage" (page 10). Sight is another theme in Such a Pretty Girl. What does each character choose not to see and how does that hurt them?
10.What do you think Meredith's future will be like? Will she become the stereotype of abused children? Or will she become its exception?
1. Visit Laura Wiess's blog at http://gypsyrobin.livejournal.com.
2. Did this book inspire you to get involved in protecting your community? Go to www.fbi.gov/hq/cid/cac/states.htm to find information on sex offenders who might be living in your neighborhood.
3. Watch the documentary highly recommended by the author, Just Melvin: Just Evil.