BKMT READING GUIDES

Absolution: A Novel
by Regina Buttner

Published: 2020-10-13T00:0
Paperback : 256 pages
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"[An] emotionally potent tale about the power of a secret." --Kirkus Reviews

Jeanie thinks she was to blame for the sexual assault she suffered in college--and she’d do anything to keep her old-school Catholic family from finding out about the resulting pregnancy, as well as what she ...

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Introduction

"[An] emotionally potent tale about the power of a secret." --Kirkus Reviews

Jeanie thinks she was to blame for the sexual assault she suffered in college--and she’d do anything to keep her old-school Catholic family from finding out about the resulting pregnancy, as well as what she did to conceal it.

Years have passed since the assault, and Jeanie’s husband, Greg, still thinks she’s the seemingly innocent girl he married in a rush to spite his controlling mother. It’s the height of the Seattle dot-com boom, and he’s too busy cashing in his stock options to pay attention to his wife. He isn’t aware of Jeanie’s lingering shame and guilt, or that she married him in the desperate hope that devoting herself to marriage and motherhood would somehow absolve her from the sins in her past.

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Excerpt

Chapter 1
Erie, Pennsylvania, 1993
I was in bed, but it wasn’t my bed. I struggled to surface from the depths of my drunken haze. I was freezing. My eyes cracked open and focused on an air conditioning unit whirring in the window. This wasn’t my room. I was curled into a tight fetal position with my goose-pimpled arms clamped to my chest, and—oh my God, was I naked? I ran a hand over my stomach and down to my hips. Nothing. ... view entire excerpt...

Discussion Questions

1) Do you think Jeanie made the right decision in trying to keep her marriage together for so long? If you were in her place, what would you have done?

2) Jeanie reacts to the assault she suffered at the hands of her professor with denial, shame, and feelings of guilt that cause her to keep the event a secret for many years. How have societal attitudes changed since the 1990s, particularly in light of the Me Too movement and recent prosecutions of serial offenders?

3) Jeanie was trained since childhood to pursue a life as a devoted wife and mother, but her commitment to her marriage eventually slams up against the harsh reality of her dysfunctional relationship with Greg. What were the turning points for her?

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