Every Fifteen Minutes
Reading Group Discussion Guide
1. Sociopaths are very difficult to unmask, and they are capable of fooling almost everyone. What did you learn about sociopaths by reading Every Fifteen Minutes? Have you ever encountered a sociopath in your life? If so, what effects did it have on your life? What makes sociopaths especially dangerous, and what are some of the red flags we should heed?
2. When Dr. Eric Parrish is desperate to find who may have killed a teenage girl, the first place he turns is Facebook, which is full of all kinds of information. How do you use social media, and what kind of restrictions do you place on yourself or your kids? Have you ever posted something and then regretted it? What are the positive uses for social media? What are the downsides?
3. Eric and Caitlin have different parenting styles and different ideas about how to respond to Hannah’s anxiety. What was your reaction to their different styles and the way they dealt with co-parenting? Did you consistently find yourself siding with one parent over the other? In what ways would you have handled the situation differently?
4. The Tarasoff case highlights the unique position that psychiatrists are in, as they have a responsibility to protect not only their patients, but also other people from potential harm done by their patients. Eric considers whether he has a Tarasoff issue with Max, but is reluctant to act too quickly because of the repercussions. Did you agree or disagree with Eric’s decision, why or why not? What potential conflicts does the Tarasoff issue raise?
5. Max has a very special relationship to his grandmother, and more and more, grandparents are helping raise their grandchildren. In what way is the grandparent relationship different from the parental relationship? What are the downsides to a child being reared by a grandparent instead of a traditional parent? What are the benefits?
6. Eric had a responsibility to uphold patient-doctor confidentiality, and he does so with vehemence, even when breaking it could work in Max’s favor. Under what circumstances do you think it is okay for a doctor to reveal confidential patient information? Did you agree or disagree with Eric’s decisions? Why or why not? Do you think Eric was more so trying to protect himself or Max?
7. In evaluating his deteriorating marriage, Eric decides that his wife “had fallen in love with a cardboard cutout of a man, a resume rather than a human being.” Do you understand what Eric means by this? Do you think this is a fair assessment of what happened in their marriage? Does this statement seem as if Eric is blaming his wife?
8. Jason has some mental illness that is very manageable with the proper treatment, but much mental illness goes undiagnosed or untreated and can lead to serious problems. Why do you think this country is so lacking in the treatment of mental illnesses? Do you have anyone in your life with a mental illness, and if so, how are they being treated? What do you think we can do to better care for people: Early screening? Funding research? Awareness campaigns?
9. Paul is an aggressive but effective lawyer. What did you think about his style? Would you want Paul as your lawyer, why or why not?
10. There was a lot of blame to go around in Every Fifteen Minutes. Other than Renée, who else did you think was a true victim? What responsibility did each main character have for what happened? In the end, do you think justice was done?
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