For Book Clubs
Free of Malice offers many issues for a lively book club discussion, such as, crimes against women, psychological therapy, gun ownership, race, self-defense, and the criminal justice system. Author Liz Lazarus enjoys meeting with book clubs to discuss this psychological thriller, either in person or via Skype. If you have a book club, contact Liz about joining the discussion.
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Book Club Questions
Download the Book Club Questions.
In order to provide reading groups with the most informed and thought-provoking questions possible, it is necessary to reveal important aspects of the plot of this novel.
If you have not finished reading Free of Malice, we respectfully suggest that you wait before reviewing this guide.
- Marriage relationship
From your experience, did Laura and Chris have a realistic relationship?
- Counseling & EMDR
Were you surprised that Laura resisted professional counseling?
Prior to reading the book, were you familiar with EMDR?
Have you experienced or do you know someone who has tried or practices EMDR?
Do you believe counseling would play a significant role toward recovery for someone in Laura's position?
When do you believe therapy isn't necessary?
- Guns & Self Defense
Laura opted to "process" her way through her recovery. Part of that process included figuring out ways to protect herself. For Laura, that meant learning how to use a gun and buying her own handgun.
Have you ever shot a handgun?
If someone disturbed the privacy of your home, could you see yourself buying a gun and doing target practice? Why or why not?
- Jury Selection
Have you ever served on a jury?
After reading the detailed account of how juries are chosen, did you learn more about the process of jury selection?
If you've served on a jury, are you more or less surprised that you were chosen? Why or why not?
- Victim Mentality
Throughout the book, Laura demonstrates a variety of ways of comforting herself. How does Laura comfort herself?
What do you see as the relationship between self-comfort and being a victim?
Do you believe Laura handled being a victim effectively?
What do you think she should have done differently?
After the attack, Laura struggled to figure out if she was being hyper-vigilant or too trusting in the face of what she saw as clear evidence against the people around her.
Do you believe Laura handles her emotions well or does she reign them in too closely — or, at some points, does she go too far?
If so, where does she cross the line?
What surprised you about the role race played in the way Laura's story played out?
- Taboo Topics
Free of Malice touches on multiple contemporary issues including race, gun rights and victim's rights. Most of us refrain from discussion of those issues in polite conversation.
What is the value in having open discussion of topics like race and gun rights?
What different ending could you imagine for this book?
Was the ending too "happily-ever-after"?
- Movie Casting
If Free of Malice were made into a movie, whom would you cast as Laura, Thomas, Barbara and Chris?