The Doctor's Wife Q&A *Spoilers*

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Finzmom4's picture
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The Doctor's Wife Q&A *Spoilers*

From the Author's website

http://www.elizabethbrundage.com/content/groups.asp

WARNING! Questions here contain plot spoilers. Don't read the questions until you've read the book.

1) The thriller plot of The Doctor's Wife deals with violence against doctors who perform abortions. How did your own views about abortion affect your reading of the book?

2) Although the thriller plot focuses on the doctor, Michael Knowles, the title suggests the most important character is his wife Annie. Why?

3) Annie's affair with Simon is sure to press as many hot buttons as her husband's work in the women's clinic. How did you feel about the affair? Was it "justified"?

4) Lydia's religious beliefs are exploited by a "reverend" with a political agenda. Who's responsible for her actions --- Lydia, Reverend Tim, or both?

5) Mothers beam when their daughters marry doctors, but Annie is disappointed in Michael precisely because he is a doctor. Medicine, she believes, has turned him into a "weary, densitized workaholic." That could be a description of many professional men. Would it be better if those men married women in their professions?

6) "They had come to a place in their marriage when they were blind to one another, and it was mutual." How does this change for Annie and Michael over the course of the book? What do you think happens to Michael and Annie?

7) Simon teaches Annie's class one day, and delivers a lecture --- directed at his wife --- about black-and-white. "Gray is where you want to go, but it's difficult," he says. In reading this book, do you feel the author prodding you to see life in its complexity, as shades of gray? Or is that a rationalization people adopt when, say, they're having affairs?

Dirol How do Simon Haas' paintings of Lydia reveal how he views women? Does this view change when he gets to know Annie?

9) How do you visualize Simon's work? What painter's work do you see?

10) Which character, if any, were you sympathetic towards? Why?

11) Talk about the theme of guilt that runs through the book. Annie is guilty about her affair with Simon. Michael is guilty about his relationship with Celina. Simon is guilty about his life with Lydia. Lydia is guilty about murdering her father. What does this guilt do to the characters?

12) When you first started reading this book did you expect that the story would take the twists and turns that it did? What surprised you most?

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1) The thriller plot of The Doctor's Wife deals with violence against doctors who perform abortions. How did your own views about abortion affect your reading of the book?
Well, I am pro-choice, and for many of the reasons that Michael and Celina stated that they provided the service. I've never understood how someone can profess that abortion is murder, and therefore wrong, and can then turn around and murder someone and justify it.

2) Although the thriller plot focuses on the doctor, Michael Knowles, the title suggests the most important character is his wife Annie. Why?
I think because she is the catalyst for many of the things that occur. While I'm doubtful, because of her mental state, I think maybe Rev. Tim may not have been able to have as much of an effect on her if the woman who her husband was sleeping with was someone else. Some of the things that happened, such as the child's brief abduction had very little to do with the doctor performing abortions.

3) Annie's affair with Simon is sure to press as many hot buttons as her husband's work in the women's clinic. How did you feel about the affair? Was it "justified"?
I don't think any affair is ever justified. Can I see how it happened, sure. Annie was lonely and felt overlooked by her husband. Then Simon showed her such an interest. It was the one thing in her "perfect" life that was missing.

4) Lydia's religious beliefs are exploited by a "reverend" with a political agenda. Who's responsible for her actions --- Lydia, Reverend Tim, or both?
Lydia was unstable and very vulnerable, that is obvious from the get go. I feel like Rev. Tim took advantage of that, and was very responsible for her actions. He plotted the attack against Michael, taught Lydia how to shoot, filled her head with propaganda, etc.

5) Mothers beam when their daughters marry doctors, but Annie is disappointed in Michael precisely because he is a doctor. Medicine, she believes, has turned him into a "weary, densitized workaholic." That could be a description of many professional men. Would it be better if those men married women in their professions?

6) "They had come to a place in their marriage when they were blind to one another, and it was mutual." How does this change for Annie and Michael over the course of the book? What do you think happens to Michael and Annie?

7) Simon teaches Annie's class one day, and delivers a lecture --- directed at his wife --- about black-and-white. "Gray is where you want to go, but it's difficult," he says. In reading this book, do you feel the author prodding you to see life in its complexity, as shades of gray? Or is that a rationalization people adopt when, say, they're having affairs?
I do feel like she is prodding the reader to see life as complex, and not simply just right or wrong. However, I don't think that is shown as much by the affair as it is with the issue of abortion in the book.

Dirol How do Simon Haas' paintings of Lydia reveal how he views women? Does this view change when he gets to know Annie?

9) How do you visualize Simon's work? What painter's work do you see?

I think it would be very dark, kind of abstract.

10) Which character, if any, were you sympathetic towards? Why?
I had a difficult time really caring about any of the characters. I'd say I was probably most sympathetic to Michael. All in all, aside from being a workaholic, he really did seem to be a good man. It wasn't as though he was just slaving away in an office. He was a doctor providing necessary services, and you could see that he was torn about all the time he had to put in, especially the extra time at the clinic.

11) Talk about the theme of guilt that runs through the book. Annie is guilty about her affair with Simon. Michael is guilty about his relationship with Celina. Simon is guilty about his life with Lydia. Lydia is guilty about murdering her father. What does this guilt do to the characters?

12) When you first started reading this book did you expect that the story would take the twists and turns that it did? What surprised you most?

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1) The thriller plot of The Doctor's Wife deals with violence against doctors who perform abortions. How did your own views about abortion affect your reading of the book? Personally - I don't care which way you swing. If you lower your standards to the point of harming another's life to bring your point across you are plain out wrong. Regardless of the topic or event that you are against. If a person wants to help by offering other venues for people to follow - or by serving the community in education or service fine. I don't think my views affected the reading of the book at all. If anything it may have given me a desire to comprehend what each party was thinking and why.

2) Although the thriller plot focuses on the doctor, Michael Knowles, the title suggests the most important character is his wife Annie. Why? Because in reality She is the reason for the plot. It is a misdirection throwing in the abortion clinic. A way for the criminal to hide the real reason for her behavior.

3) Annie's affair with Simon is sure to press as many hot buttons as her husband's work in the women's clinic. How did you feel about the affair? Was it "justified"? No - Affairs are never justified. They are what they are. Personally, I think if a person is that desperate then they need to leave their spouse and start over. But cheating is not acceptable. It leads to trouble, as this book exemplified quite well.

4) Lydia's religious beliefs are exploited by a "reverend" with a political agenda. Who's responsible for her actions --- Lydia, Reverend Tim, or both? I would say both. But Reverend Tim just took it to another level by using her. She did have a choice, but she may have been a bit mental. I think he worked off of her weaknesses... Then again, who is to say that she would not have gone to the extremes with or without Reverend Tim?

5) Mothers beam when their daughters marry doctors, but Annie is disappointed in Michael precisely because he is a doctor. Medicine, she believes, has turned him into a "weary, densitized workaholic." That could be a description of many professional men. Would it be better if those men married women in their professions? Not necessarily. I think that when children come into a home a woman's focus changes as does the man. Women are so focussed on family while men tend to focus on providing "the very best" for their families. The thing that is important is for both parties (husband and wife) take a time out and try to come together weekly or monthly for "family" or "personal" time - to avoid each other feeling neglected. It is an oversight for sure... but they both do it for each other not realizing they are harming the others in their en devour to do for the other. (especially men.)

6) "They had come to a place in their marriage when they were blind to one another, and it was mutual." How does this change for Annie and Michael over the course of the book? What do you think happens to Michael and Annie? I think they did not learn to compromise for each other and in a sense gave up, maybe even forgotten how to work through this time. Thus sending him to fight for a cause he felt she loved instead of spending time at home - and her gratifying her desires and needs through someone else.

7) Simon teaches Annie's class one day, and delivers a lecture --- directed at his wife --- about black-and-white. "Gray is where you want to go, but it's difficult," he says. In reading this book, do you feel the author prodding you to see life in its complexity, as shades of gray? Or is that a rationalization people adopt when, say, they're having affairs? There is a black and white - and gray in life. We may not comprehend all the reasons the led to his infidelity. I think that is what he was trying to say. Not that it was right or wrong. It was also his way of rationalizing his behavior. So my answer would be both.

Dirol How do Simon Haas' paintings of Lydia reveal how he views women? Does this view change when he gets to know Annie? He sees them at the inner core (or naked.) He is trying to show he sees her for who she is, no pretenses. No - I think he really saw her wants and desires. I think that is what linked them together so strongly. I think it was she who changed the most.

9) How do you visualize Simon's work? What painter's work do you see? Very raw. Precise... no softness to hide any flaws.

10) Which character, if any, were you sympathetic towards? Why? Michael and Simon. Simon was a bit of a jerk... but life really handed him a raw deal. I truly felt for him and his situation. Just wish he could of handled it a bit better. And of coarse Michael. I think that he really was doing his very best for his family and his beliefs. I don't think he made all the "right" choices either - but he did not go have an affair when he very well could have.

11) Talk about the theme of guilt that runs through the book. Annie is guilty about her affair with Simon. Michael is guilty about his relationship with Celina. Simon is guilty about his life with Lydia. Lydia is guilty about murdering her father. What does this guilt do to the characters? Guilt makes or breaks a person. Leads them down paths that they would not normally have chosen otherwise.

12) When you first started reading this book did you expect that the story would take the twists and turns that it did? What surprised you most? Not at first but I caught on pretty quickly. I was mostly surprised that Simon did not take a stronger stance against his wife when he started to understand what was indeed happening.