Book Club Discussion Questions for Don’t Tell Anyone
1. What would you do if a loved one asked for help ending his or her life? In what circumstances might you accept or decline?
2. Estelle made a choice to ignore her medical condition. Do you think she had a responsibility to her family to seek help as soon as she found the first lump? What would you have done, if this were you, or if a friend came to you with this dilemma and asked you to keep the secret?
3. Could you relate to the characters’ dilemmas? Why or why not?
4. Do the characters remind you of anyone in your own life? How?
5. Should Estelle’s oncologist have told her children about her tumors from the start, even though he didn’t have her explicit permission? Why or why not?
6. Did certain parts of the book make you uncomfortable? If so, why? Did this lead to a new understanding or awareness of some aspect of your life you might not have thought about before?
7. When do you think it might be appropriate to withhold information from a spouse or even outright lie about a situation?
8. What do you think about the ethics involved in the way Cara tries to help Liza get Estelle’s medical records?
9. Adam, Charlie, and Liza each have slightly different reactions to Estelle’s decision to conceal her cancer. Do you think each response “fits,” given his or her personality?
10. Adam is against Cara’s giving Estelle marijuana for her symptoms. Yet Charlie offers Estelle his prescription tranquilizers, and Adam, Liza, and Charlie all drink alcohol for different reasons. How do you feel about that, why one is considered okay by society and others not?
11. Do you think someone with a terminal illness should be allowed to choose his or her own fate?
12. Did the book end the way you expected?