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Dime
by E. R. Frank

Published: 2015-05-26
Hardcover : 336 pages
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The realities of teen prostitution are revealed in this eye-opening, heartbreaking story from the author of America, which Booklist called “a piercing, unforgettable novel” and Kirkus Reviews deemed “a work of sublime humanity.”

As a teen girl in Newark, New Jersey, lost in the ...
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Introduction

The realities of teen prostitution are revealed in this eye-opening, heartbreaking story from the author of America, which Booklist called “a piercing, unforgettable novel” and Kirkus Reviews deemed “a work of sublime humanity.”

As a teen girl in Newark, New Jersey, lost in the foster care system, Dime just wants someone to care about her, to love her. A family. And that is exactly what she gets—a daddy and two “wifeys.” So what if she has to go out and earn some coins to keep her place? It seems a fair enough exchange for love.

Dime never meant to become a prostitute. It happened so gradually, she pretty much didn’t realize it was happening until it was too late.

But when a new “wifey” joins the family and Dime finds out that Daddy doesn’t love her the way she thought he did, will Dime have the strength to leave? And will Daddy let her?

Editorial Review

No editorial review at this time.

Excerpt

WHEN I FIRST understood what I was going to do, I expected to write the note as Lollipop. But in the six weeks since then, I’ve had to face facts. Lollipop has lived in front of one screen or another her whole life, possesses the vocabulary of a four-year-old, can’t read, and thinks a cheeseburger and a new pair of glitter panties are things to get excited about. Using her is just a poor idea.

Back in August, Daddy assigned Lollipop to me, saying, You school her. I must have been doing a good job hiding my insides from him, or he wouldn’t have. L.A. was still the only one of us who was allowed to touch the money. If she found out, it would be the second time she’d learn about Daddy asking me to hold coins. view abbreviated excerpt only...

Discussion Questions

Prereading Questions

What would you do as a teenager if you had no family and no money?

Discussion Questions

1. Describe the settings of the novel, including the road trip. How important is setting to the story? What would the impact be if the story were set in a different large urban area?

2. Give specific details about the apartment and discuss how Daddy uses the spaces in it to reward and punish the girls. What does Dime value in the apartment?

3. Dime, who loves to read, makes many references to books. What role do children’s books play in the narrative? Which novels are important to her and why? If you’re familiar with one of the novels she mentions, talk about its significance in the story. Discuss why reading and the library are so important to Dime.

4. Describe Dime, how she changes in the story, and what causes those changes. What are her memories of being young and why do they matter? What role does school play in her life? What losses does she suffer in the story?

5. Discuss Dime’s foster situation with Janelle and what prompted Dime to leave. How did Janelle’s treatment of Dime change over the years? In what ways was it not safe for Dime at Janelle’s?

6. Daddy manipulates Dime and the rest of the girls. What words and actions does he use with Dime at first to get her to stay? How does his approach change when he wants her to work as a prostitute? Discuss why she finally sees through him.

7. Compare Daddy’s treatment of Dime to how he treats the other girls. Discuss the role of sex, jealousy, and violence in how he controls the girls.

8. Dime blames herself for “choosing” Daddy and a life of prostitution. She says, “I didn’t want to have to be a ho anymore. But I chose it, so now that’s all there was for me.” Using examples from the narrative, explain why she believes it was her choice. In your opinion, is that all that’s left for her? Discuss what her other options, if any, might be.

9. What is L.A.’s relationship with Dime, Brandy, and Lollipop? Cite evidence from the text that provides clues to her background and analyze how that affects her actions. Describe how she changes over the course of the novel.

10. Describe Brandy, her background, and why she is grateful to Daddy. What do Brandy and Dime have in common? How are they different? Point to scenes that show how they feel about each other.

11. Daddy and the girls, who are called wifeys, form a distortion of a real family. Analyze the theme of family and belonging in this novel. What does Daddy’s household, harmful as it is, offer that resembles a family? What are the girls’ experiences with families in the past?

12. How does the introduction of Lollipop into the group propel the plot forward? Describe her background and how she ends up with them. How does her presence motivate Dime to take action?

13. Discuss why Dime is so determined to save the baby. What do you think the rescue symbolizes to her? What are Dime’s plans, how does she prepare for them, and how well does she execute them to save the baby? Talk about what the consequences of the baby disappearing might have been on Lollipop and Brandy.

14. This novel explores power and its abuse on various levels including the rules on the street about how prostitutes interact with pimps. Describe “reckless eyeballing,” explain why Whippet slaps Dime, and discuss what purpose rules like this one serve for the pimps.

15. The issues of child sexual abuse and prostitution are interwoven in the lives of the girls in this novel. Describe the role sexual abuse played in the earlier life of each girl. In what ways did the sexual abuse make it easier for Daddy to turn the girls into prostitutes?

16. Dime quotes from To Kill a Mockingbird about courage. Discuss the theme of courage in Dime. How does the quote apply to Dime’s life and actions?

17. The prologue and various chapters throughout the book focus on the note that Dime is trying to write. Why does the author structure the story like this rather than in straight chronological order? Why does she repeat most of Chapter One in Chapter Twenty-Eight? Discuss the effect of the novel’s structure in terms of suspense and emotional impact.

18. The prologue and opening chapters also foreshadow much of the later action and give hints about the characters. Find specific examples of this, including Dime’s reference to suicide, and relate them to what happens later in the book.

19. Dime plays with the idea of who should be writing the note, based in part on the narrator in The Book Thief. Compare the voices that she tries out and how effective they are. Discuss the one-line note that she ends up writing and how it ties into the rest of the book.

20. A continuing metaphor throughout the book has to do with heat and cold that Dime feels inside. Find examples of this, such as the reference to a volcano, and trace how the metaphor changes in the course of the story. Analyze how effective the images are in conveying Dime’s emotions.

21. After her first time as a prostitute, Dime says that “There hadn’t been any tunnel or light or angels singing, but I know that I had died.” Discuss what she means and why the author chose that metaphor and the details she uses. What is the relationship of that passage comment to the final paragraph of the book, just labeled “Dime”?

22. Discuss what happens to Dime on the bridge at the end of the book. Based on her previous actions and her strength of character, speculate about what might have happened to her after she found the business card in her coat.

23. Find places in the text where Dime deceives herself about Daddy’s intentions yet reveals enough in her narrative that the reader knows she’s wrong. How does the author convey both Dime’s self-deception and the real situation? After reality sets in, Dime says, “I was fuzzy on a lot of things.” How is this fuzziness reflected in her narration? - See more at: http://books.simonandschuster.com/Dime/E-R-Frank/9781481431606/reading_group_guide#rgg

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

No notes at this time.

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  "Teen point of view about sexual slavery"by Cyndee K. (see profile) 09/22/17

Dime is thirteen and living in a foster home. She can barely remember someone who read to her. She is quiet and loves school. But when her foster parent begins drinking and her foster brother begins touching... (read more)

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