MLA Platinum Award Press Release

Reading guide for The Truants by Kate Weinberg

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The Truants

by Kate Weinberg

The Truants by Kate Weinberg X
The Truants by Kate Weinberg
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  • Published:
    Jan 2020, 320 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Elisabeth Cook
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Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide will contain spoilers!

  1. Reading The Truants changes Jess's life. Why do you think The Truants speaks to Jess so powerfully? Is there a book you read when you were a teenager that changed you? What about as an adult?
  2. At the beginning of the novel, Jess thinks of herself as "a bystander: a witness, an observer" (p. 21). Why does she see herself this way? Does this identity change once she goes to college? How does Jess see herself at the end of the novel?
  3. Why does Jess admire Lorna Clay so much? What about Lorna inspires Jess? How did you see Lorna at the start of the novel? Did you feel differently about her by the end?
  4. Both Jess and Lorna become fascinated by Agatha Christie. Why does Lorna want to teach a course on Christie? How does Christie's own life influence Jess? How does The Truants draw on Christie's novels?
  5. Lorna begins her first class with the phrase "People disappear when they most want to be seen" (p. 41). What does she mean? Over the course of the novel, how does this phrase change Jess's understanding of Lorna? How does it change Jess's understanding of herself?
  6. On p.99, Lorna tells Jess to "think about triangles." What does she mean? What role do triangles play in The Truants?
  7. Why does Hugh tell Jess about the " Vanishing Man of Mowbry" (p. 164)? Were you surprised by his perception of Lorna? Is his relationship with Lorna similar to Jess's relationship with Alec? Is it similar to Jess's with Lorna?
  8. Discuss how motherhood is explored in The Truants. How does Jess feel about her own mother at the beginning of the novel? Why are her feelings different at the end? How does meeting Lorna's mother change her perception of Lorna? Were you surprised by the choice Jess makes in chapter 22 (p. 173)? Why or why not?
  9. On p. 245, Jess has a vivid memory of Lorna that she thinks "must have been a dream, because she couldn't have said that. Not the real-life Lorna." Do you think Jess sees the "real" Lorna? Why or why not? Have you ever felt you misremembered a moment in your own life? Are these memories less important because they might not be real? Why or why not?
  10. The novel begins with the lines: "It's hard to say who I fell in love with first. Because it was love, I think you'll agree, when I've finished telling you" (p. 1). Do you think it was love? What does love mean to Jess? To Lorna? How does Jess's understanding of love evolve over the course of her education?


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

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