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We Are Not Like Them: A Novel
by Jo Piazza Christine; Pride

Published: 2022-08-02T00:0
Paperback : 336 pages
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A GOOD MORNING AMERICA BOOK CLUB PICK

Named a Best Book Pick of 2021 by Harper’s Bazaar and Real Simple

Named a Most Anticipated Book of Fall by People, Essence, New York Post, PopSugar, New York Newsday, Entertainment Weekly, Town & Country, Bustle, Fortune, and Book Riot

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Introduction

A GOOD MORNING AMERICA BOOK CLUB PICK

Named a Best Book Pick of 2021 by Harper’s Bazaar and Real Simple

Named a Most Anticipated Book of Fall by People, Essence, New York Post, PopSugar, New York Newsday, Entertainment Weekly, Town & Country, Bustle, Fortune, and Book Riot

Told from alternating perspectives, this “propulsive, deeply felt tale of race and friendship” (People) follows two women, one Black and one white, whose friendship is indelibly altered by a tragic event.

Jen and Riley have been best friends since kindergarten. As adults, they remain as close as sisters, though their lives have taken different directions. Jen married young, and after years of trying, is finally pregnant. Riley pursued her childhood dream of becoming a television journalist and is poised to become one of the first Black female anchors of the top news channel in their hometown of Philadelphia.

But the deep bond they share is severely tested when Jen’s husband, a city police officer, is involved in the shooting of an unarmed Black teenager. Six months pregnant, Jen is in freefall as her future, her husband’s freedom, and her friendship with Riley are thrown into uncertainty. Covering this career-making story, Riley wrestles with the implications of this tragic incident for her Black community, her ambitions, and her relationship with her lifelong friend.

Like Tayari Jones’s An American Marriage and Jodi Picoult’s Small Great Things, We Are Not Like Them takes “us to uncomfortable places—in the best possible way—while capturing so much of what we are all thinking and feeling about race. A sharp, timely, and soul-satisfying novel” (Emily Giffin, New York Times bestselling author) that is both a powerful conversation starter and a celebration of the enduring power of friendship.

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Excerpt

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Discussion Questions

From the publisher:

1. What emotions did you experience while reading the prologue? Why do you think the authors chose to open with this scene?

2. How did you interpret Kevin’s behaviors after the incident? Did you feel any sympathy for him, and do you think he deserved everything that happened after? Who do you blame for what happened?

3. Did you find yourself torn over how to feel about any of the characters’ reactions or decisions in the novel? What moments were particularly controversial to you, and how did they challenge your perceptions?

4. Discuss how this novel exhibits instances of prejudice based on privilege, class, and race. What about instances of unconscious bias?

5. Riley says to Jen: “I didn’t want to be the Black girl always talking about race. That’s no fun. And I don’t know what your reaction would be if I told you about all the shit I have to deal with because I’m a Black woman. What if you didn’t have the right reaction?” (page 246). How might we be able to more openly discuss our feelings about these sensitive issues? Do you think there’s ever a reason these things should be left undiscussed? Have you ever struggled to express a feeling or observation about race out of fear of being dismissed or misunderstood?

6. Did Jen and Riley’s alternating voices highlight any important similarities or differences about their experiences during the novel? Did you relate to one character in particular?

7. Riley and Jen are pulled between their friendship and their commitments to their careers, families, and communities. Do you think they made the right choices? Have you ever felt caught between your obligations to others and yourself?

8. Jen struggles with supporting her husband and her complicated feelings about his actions and innocence. Do you think she’s too afraid of his family to question him more? How does family influence your descisions?

9. How did you interpret the reactions from the media and social platforms throughout the novel? How are these mediums helpful or harmful to the people at the center of the story?

10. The tragedy that sparks the divide in Riley and Jen’s relationship exposes some fault lines in their shared history. When is a friendship worth hanging on to, and when is it time to let go? How did their bond change by the end of the novel, for better or worse?

11. Were there parts of the novel that made you uncomfortable, and why?

12. What do you think of the book’s title? What does it encapsulate about this story? Who are “We” and “Them” in the title?

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

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Member Reviews

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  "This book exposes a very important issue."by thewanderingjew (see profile) 05/11/22

We Are Not Like Them, Christine Pride, Jo Piazza, authors; Marin Ireland, Shayna Small, Kevin R. Free, Chanté McCormick, narrators.
This book, written by a black and a white author, is abo
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