Book Discussion Guide: Secret Language

Boxed Lunch Book Club Today!

My discussion questions are a little slim, but mainly we are just going to talk about sisters!  Sisters are the best…and the worst.  I love my sister, but we hated each other for several years there before we realized we couldn’t live without one another!  I’m hoping that reading this book makes everyone want to share their sister stories!


(There are also great questions in the back of this book for a discussion!)

In the first chapter (p.9), the two sisters, Connie and Faith, are left alone in a hotel room by their parents.  Their father, Billy, has just told Connie that whining makes her face look ugly.  After he leaves, Faith tells her not to belive him, that she his pretty no matter what he says.  Connie decideds to believe Faith.  How does this scene show what life is like for the two sisters as young girls?  How does their relationship with each other help them cope with their dysfunctional parents?

On opening night in New York (p.14), when Connie and Faith get to go along to the show, all dressed up, what do their two different responses to this event tell you about the two girls?  How are they different from one another?

Connie is now in high school.  Faith is working.  They are without their parents. What does the following description tell you about their relationship at this point?  They are inseparable, and separate, like parallel lines, defined by the distance between them.  Still, the thought of a year from now with Connie gone, chokes Faith a little.  She doesn’t think she knows how to live without her. (p.26)  Can you share how this description fits one of your family relationships?

p. 28.  As Faith’s relationship with Joe blossoms, the author writes that even though she has made out with a boy in the back seat of a car, she has never before knocked a boy on the arm in play.  Why are these two interactions so different?  What makes the latter mean so much more for Faith?

How do you see the affect of their childhood playing out into adulthood for Connie and Faith?

The family churns around them, with plans and alternative plans and contingency plans for getting her to the hospital in case the baby comes early, or late, or in the morning, or at night. p. 47  Do you think that Faith ever feels like she is a part of Joe’s family?  Why or why not?

On p. 48, the author says this about Faith: She will never catch up to his version of the world. This is the beginning of the end of their marriage.  What happened?  Who is at fault?  Do you think they could have saved their marriage at this point?  How?  The official break up happens on pp.52-53.  What about this scene stands out to you?

p.56  It is an unpleasant but strangely welcome feeling: her old, frozen self, finally delivered from the terrible trouble of love. What does this quote say to you about Faith?  Why does mean by the phrase terrible trouble of love? What patterns from your early life do find it easiest to fall back into?

Why is Faith able to wait for the chickadees?  p.131  she stands the cold, the birds’ indifference, and the inherent foolishness of this act with the patience of one who has not time but well–a whole canyon–of faith

On p. 201, Connie says to Faith about Isadora:  I thought I had a real sister.  WHY does she say this??  What things have you said to your sister (or other family members) that you wish you could take back?

How does the arrival of Isadora change the story for Connie and Faith?  Over the course of the book, how does her presence change Connie and Faith?

On p. 218, when Faith and Joe are talking about where things went wrong, Faith talks about how terrified she was when her children were born that she would turn into her parents.  She remembered feeling helpless to take care of Connie all over again.  What fears do you face about parenting that you think might be from your own childhood?

With which sister do you most identify?  Share why.

I’m down to the wire on getting this written out, so sometimes you just have to put a Trader Joe’s pretzel on a spoonful of peanut butter and call it lunch!  Happy Thursday!



1 Comment

  1. […] couple of weeks ago, I read Secret Language by Monica Wood for our lovely little book club that meets once a month at church.  I’ve been meaning to post a few quotes that I loved from […]

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