For librarians and book groups, e-mail me and I will send you a reading group question guide. And I’d be glad to participate by phone in your readers’ group, unless I happen to be in Berlin, Paris, Egypt, or Dubai (some of the places I’ve gone recently for my legal job).
Reading Group Guide for Lori Andrews’ IMMUNITY
- What is Alex’s relationship with her mother? How does it change over the course of the book?
- In what ways is Alex suited for her job with the military? In what ways is her job at the AFIP a poor fit for her personality?
- How does Castro’s job as an undercover agent shape his character?
- Do you see a future for Alex and Castro? How might the secret he kept from her affect their relationship?
- In IMMUNITY, Red Rights is a group dedicated to fighting for Native American rights, and yet it is labeled by Homeland Security as a terrorist organization. Compare this group with the real-life foreign terrorist groups we’re familiar with, like Al Qaeda. Is Red Rights less dangerous or more so, because they are operating from U.S. soil? Do some of the political arguments made by Red Rights have merit?
- The children at the Colony are kept safe by being shut off from the outside world. Lana, who also has a disability, is allowed to live in the real world, exposing her to numerous threats including the potential for date rape. What is Andrews trying to say about the best way to protect children?
- In the book Alex encounters both positive results of science, such as Sam the computer, and negative results, such as the development of the disease and of the date rape drug. How do we as a society balance the risks of scientific research with the rewards? Should scientists be limited in what they can research so they have less potential to use their knowledge for dangerous purposes?
- Barbara and Alex discuss the legal implications of the “Peeper” technology that shows images from people’s homes. While Alex is aghast at this privacy violation, she later uses the Peeper to find the Colony. What is Andrews saying here about our right to be left alone? Should privacy laws be broken in certain cases? In what situations?
- Sam and Nat are supercomputers created from DNA material, making them completely natural and thus safe for the residents of the Colony. What is Andrews implying about the role technology plays in our society? Does natural equal better?
- In the book Lana writes a paper for school about prenatal screening for the deaf gene. Do you think prenatal screening is a good idea? If you found out you were going to have a deaf child, would you terminate the pregnancy?
- Lana says to Alex that “geneticists are trying to get rid of us [disabled people].” She’s right that genetic diagnostics and new treatments are helping wipe out various diseases. Is this ultimately a good thing? Should we be striving for a “perfect” race of people? What would we be giving up?
- As a geneticist, Alex is faced daily with questions of nature versus nurture, of how much of a character’s behavior is hardwired and how much involves free will. Do you think nature or nurture is more important?
All content © 2009-2011 by Lori Andrews.