Inside & Out: Book Group and Discussion Questions

  1. All of the stories in this collection are told in the first person. Choose any one of the stories and discuss why this was the best point of view for that story. How might it have fared in third person?
  2. Several of stories feature the recurring characters of Tom and Natalie. Do those stories have some sort of arc when considered all together? How would you describe the relationship between those two characters?
  3. Communication seems to be a persistent challenge for all of the narrators. Most of them seem to have an inability to discuss their problems effectively with those who might best be able to address them. Choose one of the stories and consider why the character seems so repressed in his articulation.
  4. Jealousy is another unifying theme in the collection. Consider first if any of the main characters is right to be jealous, including how we might make such determinations with a constricted point of view. Then discuss the character copes with those jealous feelings in any meaningful or productive way. Do they make things better?
  5. What is the role of work in any of the stories in the collection? How does it contribute to the character’s sense of who they are and what yearn to become?
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