Discussion Guide

As parents with growing teenagers, most of us struggle to find a small view into their minds. Look at You Now, offers parents a chance to discuss with their teenagers many of the issues they are currently facing, or will eventually be facing. Talking about the events and characters of this story can give families a chance to share their thoughts and idea’s, and learn from one another in a way that doesn’t feel confrontational.  Sex, love, parenting, self-reliance, friendship, deception, shame, and adversity: all of these are subjects that readers can begin to explore through conversations about this book.

When I shared this story for the first time with my own three teenagers—the story of what happened in 1979, when I was seventeen years old—I never imagined the discussion it would elicit.  My children were open and informed about sex, their idea’s about love, and consequences and choices, yet they were also filled with questions. When Look at You Now came out, I began to receive many e mails from parents and teens from all over the country, telling me how they’d had their own versions of this conversation in their family.  This book can provide a safe place for teens to discuss the really important issues that are sometimes difficult to talk about—by talking not about themselves, but about someone else’s story. 

Below are some questions to help prompt conversation between parents and their children.

1.    What are the important things that a person needs to know, or do, before deciding to have sex?

2.    If the same thing that happened in this story were to occur in our family, how do you think we would handle it? How would you hope we would handle it?

 3.     Did you identify with any of the characters in this story? What did you learn from their experiences within the facility?

4.     Liz and the other girls encountered many challenges during their time in the facility. What challenge would you have found to be the most difficult to handle? Why?

5.     How did you feel during the scene of Liz’s high school graduation? Do you think that things have changed between then and now?  Do you think that the students at your school would react in a similar way?  How do you think you might react?

6.    Think about Liz’s relationship with her parents throughout this journey. What about the relationship was difficult? What about it was positive? How was the main character’s relationship with her parents different or the same from our relationship?

7.    In the story, Liz is obligated to lie to certain friends and family members about her condition. What did you think of this? When, if ever, is it okay to withhold the truth?

8.    If you knew that one of your friends was in Liz’s situation, what advice would you give to her? What are some ways you could show support and love to a friend who is in a situation like this?

9.     Did this story cause you to reflect on yourself? On who you are, or who you want to be as a person?

10. Shame and judgment are central themes in this story. Have you or your friends ever experienced any kind of shame or judgment? Did you learn from this book, about how someone in a difficult situation actually can move past those feelings?

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