Book Club Discussion Guide

"Book club enthusiasts will enjoy Valerie Taylor’s debut novel. Discussion questions provided…are sure to generate lively discussion."Theresa Edwards, Goodreads Reviewer

What's Not Said book coverJumpstart your book club discussion with these questions. A cup of tea or a glass of wine is optional!

  1. The expiration date on the Ricci-O’Callaghan marriage passed long before the novel begins. If Kassie hadn’t met Chris, or if her mother hadn’t died, would she have stayed in the marriage indefinitely?
  2. What do you think about Kassie’s theory that marriage should be a five-year renewable contract? What are the pros and cons? Could it ever work?
  3. Both Kassie and her mother, Patricia O’Callaghan, embrace an Emily Dickinson quote: “Saying nothing…sometimes says the Most.” Did this motto serve them well? How would Kassie’s marriage and relationship with her mother been different had they both actually said something?
  4. Kassie’s childhood was marred by the death of her father and the abuse of her wicked stepfather. Yet, her mother wielded a strong influence on her, as did Uncle Dan. How did these relationships shape Kassie’s view of marriage, family, career?
  5. At the beginning of the novel, Mike is an unsympathetic character. Is he any more likable at the end of the story? What could he have done to redeem himself?
  6. Are you surprised Kassie agreed to be tested to see if she could be a donor for Mike? What do you think she would have done if she were a match? Would you donate an organ to a relative, friend, or stranger?
  7. When Nancy informs Kassie that her husband, Bill, saw her at the hotel, is Nancy acting as a friend or busybody?
  8. When did you make the connection between Mike and Chris? It’s been said, “no coincidence, no story.” Do you believe in coincidences? Have you witnessed any in your life?
  9. Discuss the ethics of Kassie’s decision to unlock the first box she found in Mike’s bureau and her determination to find and open the second. What do you think about her taking the money, and then putting it back? Would she have returned it if Chris hadn’t suggested she do so? What would you have done?
  10. Why did Chris defend Mike? Should he have taken Kassie’s position? Are you surprised he didn’t agree to spy on Mike at the office?
  11. What makes Kassie relatable? Did you connect more with Kassie or Bad Kassie?
  12. The characters in this story lie and deceive as easily as they brush their teeth each day. Whose deceptions are the worst, most unforgivable? Mike’s lies? Kassie’s crimes? Patricia’s fibs? Or even Karen’s dishonesty?
  13. Was Patricia O’Callaghan Mike’s accomplice or did she behave the way most mothers would? If you were Kassie, would you forgive Patricia?
  14. At the beginning of the story, we learn that Kassie is a control freak. Is being a control freak a flaw or a strength in her character?
  15. What do you think the future holds for Kassie and Chris?
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