Discussion questions for readers and book clubs
- In TIED UP WITH STRINGS, Betty Grape an American amateur sleuth, comes across as cantankerous and impatient until she has to extract information from an autistic young man, Peter Goodyear. Once you learn someone is autistic how would you handle a conversation with them? How could Betty have made the interview flow better?
- Peter Goodyear is autistic, but autism, like many other disabilities, is invisible even though one in every 68 children has a diagnosis on the Autism Spectrum Disorder [ASD]. How many other people have to cope disabilities which we cannot see? What is the best / least offensive way to communicate with people who are different from ourselves?
- As a senior, Betty has also become invisible at this stage of her life. How might this be advantageous to the advancement of her newly chosen career?
- Betty behaves boldly, is often blunt to the point of rudeness, and eschews social norms. As autism is primarily a deficit in social skills does this trait help or hinder Betty? How many people do you know who struggle with social situations?
- Setting out to spend Christmas in the UK, Betty is unsettled by the differences between her suburban hometown in San Jose and the rural village of Abbeyvayle. When it comes to holidays and vacations, do you choose familiar haunts or challenge yourself to new experiences and destinations? Which is better and why?
- Have you ever adopted a pet? What role do they play in your life? How would your existence change if you had more or less pets?
- Humankind has evolved along with the domestication of animals such that today some of our closest relationships are with our pets. Do these relationships compensate for the social isolation many experience or hinder the development of friendships with people? If so, why? Is this a growing trend or a temporary aberration or a reaction to the complexity and segregation of modern digital life?