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My Story (Smart) - Discussion Questions

Discussion Questions
Use our LitLovers Book Club Resources; they can help with discussions for any book:

How to Discuss a Book (helpful discussion tips)
Generic Discussion Questions—Fiction and Nonfiction
Read-Think-Talk (a guided reading chart)

Also, consider these LitLovers talking points to help start a discussion for My Story:

1. Describe Elizabeth's kidnapper, Brian David Mitchell. Smart herself calls him a “manipulative, antisocial and narcissistic pedophile.” Is there anything in his background to suggest he would end up as a kidnapper and serial raper? Is someone like Mitchell evil? Or is he sick, mentally deranged?

2. What about Mitchell's partner, Wanda Ileen Barzee? She herself is a mother; one wonders what would prompt her to maltreat a child like Elizabeth. Brazee receieved a sentence of 15 years, seven of which the judge said she had already served. How do you feel about that?

3. One of the most remarkable aspects of Elizabeth's experience is how she used her faith to maintain hope. Would you have been able to hold onto your beliefs in light of relenting cruelty and fear?

4. In addition to her faith, what else inspired in her the will to live?

5. Elizabeth speaks of near-rescues, in particular, one in the library when a detective questioned Mitchell. Why didn't she cry out?

6. Why did it take six years for the courts to finally try and convict Mitchell. What was holding up the system?

7. What can be done about child abducters? How can society protect its young children from predatators like Mitchell?

8. Elizabeth Smart has said that it does no good to look back. Yet in her many public appearances and her work with her foundation, is she not doing just that? Wouldn't it be too painful?  Or is her work precisely what helps to heal those wounds?

(Questions by LitLovers. Please feel free to use them, online or off, with attribution. Thanks.)

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