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Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

A Member of the Family

1. When Chris and Deborah Latham adopt Michael, they try numerous methods to help acclimate Michael to their family. Do they do everything they possibly can to help Michael? Do you think they were truly committed to helping Michael since they never follow through on the expert's recommendations?

2. While Chris Latham grows up, Sag Harbor changes from a small fishing community to a booming resort town. Is acceptance of adoption less likely to occur in a small town or a bustling city? What role does the outside community play in the acceptance of Michael into the Latham family?

3. Chris Latham, Des Dunn, and Michael Latham are all orphans taken in by other families. What personality traits in each character led to their success or lack of success as a member of society?

4. Martin and Alice Dunn's adoption of Des ultimately leads to extraordinary tragedy. How does this parallel story line of adoption compare to the Lathams and Michael?

5. Chris carries a terrible secret within him that he has never told his wife. How does that secret ultimately affect their marriage? How does the revelation of the truth behind the secret affect their decision about Michael?

6. Viorica, the Latham's adoption coordinator and their beloved babysitter's sister, never accepts that Michael is a difficult child. Any problems with him are because of the Lathams' American assumption that everything in life is easy. Is she right about Chris and Deborah? What role does Viorica play in the Lathams' decisions about Michael?

A Member of the Family
by Susan Merrell

  • Publication Date: December 17, 2012
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Collins
  • ISBN-10: 0060930098
  • ISBN-13: 9780060930097