1. For years, Atlanta has been hailed as “the Black Mecca.” In Some Things I Never Thought Id Do,
author Pearl Cleage has created a new vision of an existing community, Atlantas West End, that is truly Mecca-like in that crime has been eradicated and the black men are playing some very positive roles in making it a safer place to live. Do you think visions such as Pearls can help build hope and possibility in our communities?
2. Regina is a smart, conﬁdent woman who was driven to cocaine abuse by a broken heart. Could you identify with Regina, or did you feel that she should have been able to cope with her problems without becoming an addict?
3. Reginas late lover (and Beth Daviss late son) Son not only helped his mothers movement to empower single moms, but “wanted to start his own program for the brothers because he said it didnt make sense to have a whole lot of enlightened women looking for love in the arms of a whole lot of unenlightened men.” Do you think that is a problem for black women today-not being able to ﬁnd men with their level of education, achievement, or consciousness?
4. The theme of “movements” for community empowerment runs through this book. Regina, who is thirty-two, reﬂects on her parents generation of movement friends who “were still waiting for a leader to arise who would pick up where Martin and Malcolm and Medgar and all those unnamed martyrs left off.” Do you think that Black people today are looking for a leader or a movement? And is that the solution to the many challenges facing the African American community?
5. This is a love story that encourages us to keep hope alive. Hope in community. Hope in redemption. Hope in Black men coming into their own as positive, constructive warriors and protectors of women, children, and community. Hope of Black women ﬁnding the balance between achievement and softness. Did Regina and Blues love story give you hope? Did the vision of a healthy, whole, harmonious Black community give you hope? Why is it so important for Black people today to have a sense of love, hope, and possibility?
6. Regina and Blue knew each other in a previous lifetime. Did the theme of reincarnation affect the credibility of the story for you? Do you think a reader has to believe in reincarnation to enjoy this book?
7. Aunt Abbie has a vision of Regina marrying Blue, and she shares this vision with Regina early on. When theyre getting to know each other, Blue tells Regina of his three past wives and says that “I guess Im a better friend than I am a husband.” Yet this doesnt seem to deter Regina from moving into a relationship with Blue, and the book ends with her saying that its time for Blue to meet Aunt Abbie. Do you think Regina and Blue are headed for a happy ending? Or does such a thing exist?
8. How did you feel about Beth Davis as a leader of, and role model for, Black single mothers? How did you feel about her rejection of her only grandchild, Sonny Jr., and harsh judgment of the childs mother, Madonna, the ex-stripper?
9. Beth had trouble letting go of her grown son and allowing him to live his own life, make his own choices. How common do you think this is for mothers in general and single mothers of sons in particular? Do you think this is one reason there seems to be a shortage of the kind of men portrayed in this book?
10. When Blue and Regina visit his beach house on the island, he kisses her and she says, “He didnt touch me in any other way. He just kissed me smack on the mouth, and I kissed him back, and it felt so good and so right that I decided to stop worrying about past lives or next lives or anything except his mouth on mine . . .” Can a love story be romantic without the heroine being a little impulsive, and maybe impractical? Is it possible to be romantic and pragmatic at the same time, for either women or men?
11. Pearls descriptions of the characters and community were very vivid. Can you look at a community like todays West End (and so many other African American neighborhoods), which she describes as “plagued by crime, drugs, homelessness, and unemployment” and envision the world in this novel? Did this story make you feel optimistic about the potential for positive change in the relationships between Black men and women and in our communities? Do you think it is wise, dangerous, or a waste of time to envision and hope for something better?
12. Is it the responsibility of todays African American writers, musicians and artists to portray the world as it is, or as they hope it can be? Does a single novel, a love story, have the power to provoke positive change? What might it inspire you to do?
13. There are no explicit sex scenes in this novel. Why do you think the author made this choice? Which approach do you prefer in a love story-detailed lovemaking scenes or a more subtle approach?
14. Reginas Aunt Abbie is described as a “visionary advisor” and seems almost kind of psychic, at least when it comes to Reginas life. Do you have an Aunt Abbie-like person in your life? If so, what role do they play? And what would you think if they told you that you would be meeting a love from past lifetimes?
15. What do you know about Regina from her relationship with Son and her growing relationship with Blue? Could you identify with her and the romantic choices she makes?
16. When Regina “looked at the TV in time to see the second plane hit the World Trade Center,” she gave up cocaine, started praying and checked herself into a rehabilitation facility.” This was before she knew that the love of her life, Son Davis, had died in the attack. Why do you think the events of 9-11 provoked such a dramatic reaction in Regina? Did you or anyone you know make a similarly life-changing decision as a result of 9-11?
17. What role does forgiveness play in this story? Why was it important for Regina and Beth to forgive each other? For Beth to forgive the mother of her grandchild?
18. At Beths request, Regina takes a job helping Morehouse College put Sons papers together into the Legacy Project. Would Regina have taken the job, working for the woman who destroyed her life once before, if she hadnt been absolutely desperate to save her family home?
19. Pearl writes that “One of the problems Black folks have is were usually so busy making history that we dont take the time to record it. We keep forgetting that the one who shapes the story deﬁnes the hero, and the hero deﬁnes the best of what a people can be.” Why is it important for Black people to write and record their histories? Who are todays heroes for Black people, and will history record them as such?
20. If someone, even a trusted relative or friend, predicted that you would meet someone from a past lifetime and hook up with that person, how would you react? Would you be skeptical? Eager to meet the person? And if the prediction came true, would you be happy? Frightened? How would you handle it?
21. When Aunt Abbie ﬁrst tells Regina that her past-life love has blue eyes, Regina expresses some alarm, assuming hes a White man. How would you react if someone told you that your soulmate was someone of another race? A White man?
22. Do you think that the fate and the future of Black people depends upon Black men and women staying together? Do interracial dating and marriage threaten the future of Black people? With so many Black men dating interracially, do you think that Black women should do the same? What might the consequences be?