Reading guide for We Do What We Do in the Dark by Michelle Hart

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We Do What We Do in the Dark

A Novel

by Michelle Hart

We Do What We Do in the Dark by Michelle Hart X
We Do What We Do in the Dark by Michelle Hart
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  • First Published:
    May 2022, 224 pages

    May 2023, 224 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. We Do What We Do in the Dark has distinct sections that take place in different times of Mallory's life. How do these different parts of the book, and the order in which they're presented, inform each other, and what do they tell us about Mallory?
  2. Mallory feels alone and craves connection with the woman, but also clings to her loneliness as a safe place. What accounts for these two opposing forces?
  3. How does the book handle Mallory's sexuality, and the woman's? How do they view their individual queerness or identity?
  4. Mallory both wants the woman and wants to be her. This melding of admiration and desire is extreme in the book, but to a certain extent, is an experience many of us encounter in life. What does it mean to so deeply admire someone that you want to dive into their life?
  5. The woman and Mallory share some past traumas—how do their pasts affect their present? Are they re-creating relationships?
  6. Why do you think the woman is never named?
  7. Consider Mallory's relationship with her neighbors, the Allards. What do her friendship with Hannah and her interactions with Mrs. Allard reveal about Mallory? What impact do they have on her life?
  8. There are only a few men in the novel—Mallory's father and her friend Joseph, in particular. How are they depicted in the story?
  9. The book concludes with a short piece that perhaps throws Mallory's relationship with the woman in a different light. What does it say about consent, about the dynamics of their relationship?

Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Riverhead Books. 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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