Reading guide for Mercies in Disguise by Gina Kolata

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Mercies in Disguise

A Story of Hope, a Family's Genetic Destiny, and the Science That Rescued Them

by Gina Kolata

Mercies in Disguise by Gina Kolata X
Mercies in Disguise by Gina Kolata
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Mar 2017, 272 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2018, 272 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers

Buy This Book

About this Book

Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!

  1. What is the meaning of the title, Mercies in Disguise? What mercies are apparent for the family members? Do the family members see different mercies?
  2. If you knew that you were at risk for a fatal genetic condition that had no cure, would you want to be tested for the genetic mutation? Why or why not? What if the person at risk were your child? Your spouse?
  3. Why do you think the history of the Fore in New Guinea was included? How did the discovery of Kuru lay a foundation for discoveries about GSS and other prion diseases?
  4. What role do chance or coincidence play in scientific discoveries discussed in the book? What role does scientific collaboration play?
  5. What role did each member of the family (Tim, Mike, Buddy, and the others) play in uncovering the diagnosis? Would they have been likely to find a diagnosis without this collaboration?
  6. Why was it so difficult to obtain a diagnosis, even in a family with medical backgrounds and with access to expert neurologists?
  7. How does knowing that they have the mutation affect some of the individuals in the book? Are there unexpected consequences from knowing their diagnosis? How are individuals who learn they do not have the mutation affected by that knowledge?
  8. How do you feel about the choice of a family member who opts not to be tested? Can you understand their POV?
  9. Each individual makes their own decision to pursue genetic testing. How much do religious views versus scientific knowledge impact their decision? Are religious views necessarily at odds with scientific mindviews?
  10. How does our increasing ability to test for genetic illnesses before they occur affect your views on the importance of protecting the privacy of medical records?
  11. How did Bill Baxley, Sr.'s experience with the disease differ from that of his sons? Did knowing the name of the disease affect Billy and Buddy's hope as the illness progressed?
  12. Why did Amanda's mother, Kathy, ask her to wait to be tested until after her father had died? Do you believe her father, Buddy, wanted her to be tested? Why or why not?
  13. Which Baxley family member did you find yourself relating to the most? Why?


Book Club Report

Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of St. Martin's Griffin. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  Genetic Testing

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Inflamed Mind
    The Inflamed Mind
    by Edward Bullmore
    It is common knowledge that depression diminishes the quality of sufferers' lives, but few people ...
  • Book Jacket: The Adults
    The Adults
    by Caroline Hulse
    Things have already fallen apart on the first page of The Adults. The novel opens with an emergency ...
  • Book Jacket: News of Our Loved Ones
    News of Our Loved Ones
    by Abigail DeWitt
    The Delasalle family of Abigail DeWitt's News of Our Loved Ones are no strangers to the dark specter...
  • Book Jacket: My Sister, the Serial Killer
    My Sister, the Serial Killer
    by Oyinkan Braithwaite
    While the title of the novel gives away the plot, My Sister, the Serial Killer is essentially a ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Becoming
by Michelle Obama

An intimate, powerful, and inspiring memoir by the former First Lady of the United States.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    At the Wolf's Table
    by Rosella Postorino

    The internationally bestselling novel about the women conscripted to be Hitler's food tasters.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win Uncommon Type

Uncommon Type
by Tom Hanks

Surprising, intelligent, heartwarming, and a must-have for Tom Hanks fans!

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

Tell I T T M

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.