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Troubleby Kate Christensen
Reading Group Guide
1. Do you empathize or disagree with Josie's decision to leave Anthony and her reasons for doing so? Did you find Josie to be a sympathetic character at the beginning of the novel? In the end? Why or why not?
2. In Chapter Two, we see Josie in four psychotherapy sessions with her clients. Why do you think the author included these scenes in the novel? Do Josie's training and experience as a therapist enable her to have increased insight into the people around her?
3. Mexico City serves as a needed escape valve for both Josie and Raquel. Why do you think the author chose this city for the setting of converging and diverging paths of these two friends? What role does Mexico itself play in the unfolding story?
4. There are several instances and places during the novel in which a ritualized encounter takes place, among them the paparazzi descending on Raquel, a bullfight, and references to the human-sacrifice rituals of the Aztecs. Are there other instances of such encounters? What do you think the author is suggesting about the apparent ongoing human need for them?
5. On page 307, going home from Raquel's mother's house in a taxi with Wendy, Josie reflects about the kind of friend she has been to Raquel: “Maybe she and I had failed each other by allowing each other the freedom to be ourselves, and maybe that was the inevitable consequence of true friendship.” What do you think she means by this? Do you agree?
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