American Spy
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  • Why do you think Marie decided to write this story to her boys?
  • After the attack, Marie takes her boys to Martinique to live with her estranged mother. Why do you think she took them there?
  • Why did Marie decide to join the FBI? Let’s talk about the ways she was well-suited to be a spy.
  • How did Agathe leaving the family impact Marie and Helene?
  • In the sections dedicated to the ’60s, Marie talks about how it was a scary time period with nuclear threat. She writes to her boys: 

I don’t know if in twenty years, when you’re adults reading this, you’ll be able to understand the stranglehold that Cold War terror had on the psychology of my generation. We were kids who wondered what we would do if we grew up, not when.

Do you think this fear played a role in Marie eventually becoming a spy (as she used to living life not sure if the next day is guaranteed?)

  • Why was Helene obsessed with spies?
  • Let’s discuss the complicated relationship between Marie and Helene. Before Helene died, they drifted apart. What was the root cause of this? Do you think Marie would have become a spy if Helene hadn’t passed away?
  • Why did Marie agree to take part in the covert mission for Ross? How much influence was because she could connect with Slater, her sister’s boyfriend, again? Did you trust Ross and Slater or did you suspect they had ulterior motives?
  • Even though Sankara is her target, she ends up drawn to him immediately. Why do you think she fell for him? Did he know all along she was a spy?
  • Let’s talk about how this story intertwines gender, race, politics and history.
  • What did you think about the sections that took place in Africa?
  • Marie says to her boys this:

"Throughout my life, the most consistent way I’ve revealed who I rally am is through the men I chosen to love.

" What did she mean by that?

  • What do you think happens next to Marie? Will she take down Ross? Do you think she’ll survive?
  • If there was a sequel, what would you like to see next?

* Discussion questions from Book Club Chat

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