This reading group guide for At the End of the Day includes discussion questions and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.
Topics & Questions for Discussion
1. At the End of the Day explores the fine line between family and friendship and defines the boundaries that each can and can’t cross. How are Marvin Thomas, Michael Broussard, and Ashley Lewis affected by their relationship with family and friends in this story?
2. As is customary of friends Sylvia and Kenny Richmond, Rachel and Marvin Thomas, Mona and Michael Broussard, Claudette and Tyrone Beasley, and Trina and Cecil Coleman, they fight together to overcome the obstacles they face as a family and as a part of a family of friends. What are some of the obstacles they had to face in this story that causes each family to rally around one another? Are you part of a network of friends that have the same type of relationship and have you experienced some of the same obstacles or others?
3. Denise Thomas is marrying Harold, the love of her life and the cousin of her ex-husband, Marvin, in the opening chapter. While married to Marvin, Denise and Harold had an affair and conceived a child, Danica, who is now eight years old. Do you believe that Marvin has completely forgiven Denise and Harold of their transgressions, even though Marvin has remarried?
4. Denise and Harold’s wedding is a beautiful affair. However, Denise has yet to share with Harold something she discovers before their wedding day. What information is she withholding and how does it affect the people she loves later in the story?
5.An old friend of Michael Broussard is also a guest at Denise’s and Harold’s wedding. They were classmates in medical school years ago, but it appears that they may have been more than book buddies. What does Dr. Madeline Brooks say that suggests that they may have been more than book buddies at one time? Is Michael accommodating?
6. Madeline’s sexual harassment of Michael Broussard bordered on fatal attraction. Do you know of anyone close to you who has suffered sexual harassment at the hands of another? Did you intervene on that friend’s behalf? If so, what did you do?
7. Should Michael have reported Madeline’s behavior earlier? Was his excuse not to file a harassment suit against Madeline early on commendable?
8. Ashley has been released from prison, on some technicalities, for poisoning her husband. She gave birth to a child, Reagan, while in prison and gave up her parental rights to Claudette who has adopted and reared Reagan as her own. Should Claudette give Reagan back to Claudette? Is Claudette selfish in not wanting to give up the child she and husband, T, have raised the past seven years?
9. Several themes run throughout this story—breast cancer, sexual harassment, adoption, jealousy, forgiveness. How do they interrelate
10. Which character do you most identify with and why?
11. Who was your favorite character and why?
12. Of all the ladies in the story (Sylvia, Rachel, Mona, Claudette, Ashley, and Trina), who do you believe is the most grounded?
13. What was the pivotal point in the story for you?
14. Were you expecting the story to end as it did?
15. Upon completing the book, whose story should be told in another series?
Enhance Your Book Club
1 While this novel is a third in the Ex-Terminator series, it’s fair to say that our lives suffer bumps in the road on the path of life. The family of friends in this story can attest to it. Sometimes we can control our destiny and at other times, we are victims of circumstance. The term sexual harassment was coined somewhere around 1973 in a report to the President of MIT at the time. There are many forms and varied behavior of sexual harassment and many books and articles about it, to include Sexual Harassment on the Job: What It Is and How To Stop It: Petrocellie, William, Repa, and Barbara Kate (1998). Understanding what sexual harassment is may help guide you through a portion of this story.
2. The 1987 movie thriller, Fatal Attraction, that starred Michael Douglas and Glenn Close, would be a great precursor to reading At the End of the Day. In the movie, Glenn Close stalked Michael Douglas’ character—obsessed with her desire to have him. This movie brought about a lot of conversation regarding sexual harassment.
3. At the End of the Day showcased an eclectic group of characters. Imagine you’re the casting director for the adaptation of this book. Who would you cast for each of the characters?
Suzetta Perkins is the author of In My Rearview Mirror, Silver Bullets, Hollywood Skye, Behind the Veil, A Love So Deep, Ex-Terminator: Life After Marriage, Déjà Vu, Nobody Stays the Same, and At the End of the Day. She is also the cofounder and president of the Sistahs Book Club. Visit SuzettaPerkins.com to learn more.