1. “Child sexual abuse is far more prevalent than most people realize.”
Here’s a link to a one-page sheet of some eye-opening statistics. Does this information surprise you? Does it change your beliefs in any way?
2. Did reading this story in Valerie’s and Frances’s points of view help you understand what it might be like to live through such experiences? How does reading a short story compare with reading facts and statistics as a way to comprehend a complex social issue such as child molestation? Do you think crime fiction publishers and magazines should ban stories about child abuse?
3. What do you think of the attitudes of Valerie’s and Frances’s mothers and those of the other adults in the story: Valerie’s aunt, the sex education teacher, the members of Frances’s church?
4. What is your attitude toward fat? Is weight important to you for yourself? For the people you know? Do you routinely judge people by their body size? Do you think obesity should be considered an issue that calls for sensitivity, like race, gender, and sexual orientation?
5. Do you understand Frances’s statement about feeling simultaneously invisible and conspicuous? Have you ever felt either or both? What caused you to feel that way? If it happened now, could you do anything to change it?