Meet Sarah and Adam Morgan, a seemingly perfect couple living in Washington D.C. She’s a successful defense attorney, while he’s a struggling writer and that is exactly when things go in for a toss.
When Adam’s infidelity leads to his mistress’s brutal murder, Sarah finds herself defending her own husband in a high-stakes legal battle.
The question is: did Adam really do it, or is there something more sinister at play?
In this discussion guide, we will have a look at some amazing book club questions for The Perfect Marriage and why it’s a must-read for anyone who wants to know how infidelity and a broken childhood can destroy someone’s life in ways more sinister than a human mind can fathom.
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The Perfect Marriage Book Club Questions
- The alternating first-person point of view in The Perfect Marriage allows readers to see events from both Adam’s and Sarah’s perspectives, providing insight into their motivations and emotions. It also allows readers to see how they each perceive and interpret the events and actions of the other.
What’s your take on the way it contributed to the plot and the development of the character in The Perfect Marriage?
- The revelation of Sarah’s involvement in the heinous deed was a significant plot twist that many readers, including me, might not have seen coming. However, there were hints throughout the book that suggested Sarah may not be entirely trustworthy, such as her willingness to pursue illegal means to exonerate Adam and her unexplained absences from the lake house.
Did you, for one second, think about the outcome based on these hints?
- Sarah’s past plays a significant role in shaping her personality and actions in the novel. Growing up with a mother who was heavily reliant on her husband, Sarah became fiercely independent and obsessed with control. This desire for control manifests itself in Sarah’s need to get revenge on Adam for his infidelity. Sarah’s past trauma also affects her ability to develop emotional connections with others, which is evident in her interpersonal relationships.
Based on this context, discuss how our upbringing affects us in our adult decision-making processes.
- Whether or not Sarah’s desire for revenge on Adam was justified is a matter of personal opinion. In my case, Adam’s infidelity was a betrayal of their marriage vows and may have caused significant emotional pain for Sarah. On the other hand, Sarah’s decision to frame Adam for a murder he did not commit was both illegal and morally reprehensible.
What’s your opinion in this regard?
- The investigation and trial of Adam had a profound impact on his relationship with Sarah and his immediate family. Adam’s arrest and conviction strain his relationships with his mother and sister, who believe in his innocence, and cause Sarah to question her loyalty to him. As the trial proceeds, Sarah’s defense of Adam puts a strain on her relationships with her colleagues, who view her as compromised by her personal relationship with the defendant.
Do you think Jeneva Rose did a right portrayal of how an investigation can affect someone not just on a personal level but also on an emotional level?
- Infidelity is a major theme in the novel, driving the plot and complicating the characters’ motivations. Adam’s infidelity leads to the murder, and Sarah’s desire for revenge and her ambition lead her to frame Adam for the murder. The theme of infidelity also adds complexity to the characters’ relationships, with each character struggling to balance their desires with their commitments to their partners.
How did this theme of infidelity resonate with you? If you have any kind of personal story, feel free to share it with the audience.
- Adam remains immature, self-absorbed, and unable to take responsibility for his actions until his execution day, when he finally acknowledges Sarah’s control over his life. However, this moment of insight comes too late, and Adam meets his end, still unable to truly understand Sarah and his own role in their marriage.
Do you think it was Adam’s immaturity that made him dig his own grave?
- Each character in the novel has differing perceptions of justice. For Sarah, justice is a means of pursuing her own personal vendetta, even if it means deceiving others and committing murder. For Adam, justice is about proving his innocence and restoring his reputation. Eleanor believes in the innocence of her son and is blinded by her love for him, unable to see the truth about his actions and the justice it would bring.
Discuss how the theme of justice has been explored in the novel.
- Sarah’s desire for revenge blurs the lines between justice and revenge. While she insists that she is seeking justice for Adam’s infidelity, her actions are clearly driven by a desire for revenge. She rationalizes her own crimes and obstructions of the legal process by characterizing Adam’s infidelity as a “crime” for which he must pay.
Do you agree that the novel suggests that unfettered revenge can easily supersede justice and that without adherence to a clear idea of justice and legality, revenge can become the driving force behind one’s actions?
- Big societal issues of justice and the legal system is quite prevalent in the book. It suggests that justice is always in jeopardy when those tasked with upholding it become corrupted by their own desires and vendettas. The legal system is portrayed as being easily corrupted by personal interests, and the end result implies that this is a systemic problem rather than an issue with individual characters.
Discuss the plight of the legal system and the injustice it brings to the innocent based on the above conclusion of the justice system.
If you liked this set of questions, here are a few other options for you to explore –
The Latecomer: Bestselling author Jean Hanff Korelitz explores the lives of the wealthy Oppenheimer family and the arrival of a mysterious fourth child. With secrets, family strife, and thought-provoking themes, this immersive tale is an unputdownable journey into the complexities of family bonds.
Take my Hand: In post-segregation Alabama, a passionate Black nurse fights for justice when she uncovers a horrifying secret at her job. Years later, as she nears retirement, the past resurfaces, demanding remembrance and reminding us that history will repeat if we forget.
Of Mice and Men: In John Steinbeck’s timeless classic, “Of Mice and Men,” George and Lennie, an unlikely pair, find solace in their unbreakable bond. As they navigate a world of loneliness and hardship, their shared dream of owning land gives purpose to their existence.
1984: In George Orwell’s highly successful novel, the futuristic yet eerily timely setting of London paints a grim picture of a world where war is peace and science has forsaken humanity. As Winston Smith’s life takes a dramatic turn, encounters with Julia and O’Brien lead to shocking betrayals and a suspenseful journey into a world without darkness.
The Violin Conspiracy: Ray McMillian, a passionate Black violinist, dreams of becoming a professional musician. When he discovers his great-grandfather’s fiddle is a priceless Stradivarius, he rises in the classical music world. But as the eve of a prestigious competition approaches, his cherished heirloom is stolen, igniting a battle of ownership that challenges Ray’s determination to reclaim it. Will he overcome the odds and find his beloved violin?