Package Deal – Questions for Book Clubs and Groups

  1. Package Deal by Kate ValeWhat does Amanda’s anxiety about beginning her first post-grad appointment at Buckley College tell you about her?
  2. Marcus seems likeable enough, but why does Amanda feel she needs to talk to JJ about him?
  3. Marcus is taken with nine-year-old Cecelia and she with him. How does his banter with the child when he shows Amanda and Cece around inform his approach to children?
  4. Carlton isn’t happy having to share office space with Amanda. How does he make that clear? What about his behavior with Cece alert you that he could be dangerous?
  5. When Marcus takes Amanda and Cece to his place to ride out the big October storm, Amanda begins to accept her attraction to him, but she chooses not to act on her feelings. What in her back story prevents her from doing so?
  6. Cecelia imagines what it might be like to have a “real” dad. How typical is this of children who are growing up in a single-parent household?
  7. When Amanda goes home for Christmas, her mother asks questions that Cecelia answers, at least in part. Why does Amanda choose not to open up to her mother? Would you have advised her to?
  8. What do you learn about Marcus from the scenes when he goes home to his brother’s family for the holidays? In what way(s) is his sister-in-law helpful to him?
  9. The New Years Eve party marks a deepening of Amanda’s and Marcus’ relationship. But when Marcus begins to tiptoe around the M word, Amanda panics. Can you see why? Would you do the same in her shoes?
  10. Cece uses correct terms when discussing boy-girl anatomy with her mother. When Cece then talks with Marcus, he is less comfortable with Cece’s questions. What do you learn from how he tries to answer her questions?
  11. Carlton takes advantage of Amanda’s absence from the house when he brings over the student paper he finds on the floor of their office. How realistic is Cece’s reaction to his advances?
  12. The doctor suggests that Amanda go home, but she refuses to leave Cece’s side, even though the child is still sedated. If you are a mother, how would you react in the same circumstance?
  13. Marcus is puzzled at Cece’s behavior and starts looking into what must have happened that sent her racing into the street. What does he learn after talking with Carlton? Should he have involved the police more deeply in the search for clues?
  14. What do Cece’s nightmares reveal? When Amanda enlists the assistance of a play therapist, the details finally come out. Put yourself in Amanda’s shoes. Would you have reacted as she does on learning what Carlton has done with Cece? Why or why not?
  15. When Cece finds Marcus in Amanda’s bed, she reacts badly. Why is that? Were you in Amanda’s shoes, what would you do to reassure your child?
  16. In what way(s) does JJ act like a surrogate mother to Amanda? Is Amanda right to continue to do the special writers workshop with Marcus? Why or why not?
  17. Evan Workman’s presence in the English department raises Marcus’s hackles. What is your impression of Evan? Is he another Carlton? Or is he just another man who considers himself entitled to hook up with as many women as will have him? What about his behavior tells you there’s more to him than his superficial presentation of self?
  18. When Carlton comes back to Amanda’s office, he threatens her with a knife. What should Amanda have done to get away from him? How does she protect the girls from being harmed?
  19. After Marcus is stabbed, he finds the letter he thought he’d already mailed to Cecelia. When she finally receives it, what do you think of her reaction? Amanda’s?

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