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Going in Circles

Going in Circles

  • reading group guide
Charlotte Goodman has had enough surprises.

In fact, she reached her life’s quotient when her husband of five months walked out on her, only to abruptly change his mind a few weeks later and move back in. Stung by a whiplash of grief, resentment, and confusion, Charlotte calls a time-out, taking a small apartment where she can figure out what she wants. Instead, the thought of making even the simplest choices triggers an anxiety attack. In order to get out of bed in the morning, she must concoct a to-do list for each day, The Plan, one with absolutely no surprises.


“Without The Plan, horrible things can happen. I’m likely to end up sitting on a curb beside a taco truck on Sunset Boulevard, crying over a carne asada burrito, wondering where my marriage went. I can’t handle being the Weeping Burrito Girl.”

Charlotte knows all this self-absorbed introspection isn’t good for her, but she’s running out of people to turn to, as seemingly everyone in her life is pressuring her to make an immediate decision about her future. Then her new friend Francesca—an impulsive, smartass co-worker—offers Charlotte salvation in the unlikeliest of places: the fast-paced, super-tough, bump-and-bruise-filled world of roller derby.

Sure, it’s dangerous. Yeah, she could get hurt. But what’s a little physical pain when healing your soul is at stake? The question is: whether she’s on or off the track, will Charlotte be strong enough to stand on her own two feet?

Choose a format:
  • Pocket Books | 
  • 336 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781439169254 | 
  • April 2010
List Price $8.99

Read an Excerpt

1.

I’ve done the thing where I’m awake but I haven’t yet opened my eyes. I’m in that twilight haze where I know I’m not asleep but I can’t move a muscle. I’ve only got a second or two left before the panic will set in that I’ve somehow slept myself into becoming a paraplegic, that during the night I wrestled in some kind of nightmare that caused me to twist in horror, snapping my own neck, dooming me to an eternity of immobility.

Naturally, this will then trigger a second wave of fear. If I have separated my head from the rest of my body there’s no real way that I... see more

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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Going in Circles includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Pamela Ribon. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.

Introduction

Recently separated (while still technically a newlywed), heartbroken Charlotte Goodman must choose between a severely conflicted marriage and the terrifying prospect of single life. While searching for the “right” thing to do, she struggles to drown out the voices of her overbearing mother, self-righteous boss and cynical co-worker. In such an uncertain phase, Charlotte is desperate enough to try anything that will bring her strength, confidence and answers. Under the guidance of an eccentric new friend, she finds that salvation in the unlikeliest of places – Roller Derby.

Questions and Topics for Discussion

1.) Discuss Charlotte’s tendency to imagine John Goodman narrating her life as a way of coping. Is this method effective? What does it mean that she is ultimately able to shed his voice and live in the ‘first person’?

2.) In her first meeting with the psychiatrist, Charlotte insists, “Of course there’s one right way. One way is wrong, see more

About the Author

Pamela Ribon
Jessica Schilling Photography

Pamela Ribon

Pamela Ribon is a bestselling author, television writer and performer. A pioneer in the blogging world, her first novel, Why Girls Are Weird, was loosely based on her extremely successful website pamie.com. The site has been nominated for a Bloggie in Lifetime Achievement, which makes her feel old. Ribon created the cult sensation and tabloid tidbit Call Us Crazy: The Anne Heche Monologues, a satire of fame, fandom and Fresno. Her two-woman show, Letters Never Sent (created with four-time Emmy winner and Jay Leno Show favorite Liz Feldman) was showcased at the 2005 HBO US Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen. She has been writing in television for the past seven years, in both cable and network, including on the Emmy-award winning Samantha Who? starring Christina Applegate. Using her loyal Internet fan base, Ribon sponsors book drives for libraries in need. Over the years, pamie.com has sent thousands of books and materials to Oakland and San Diego, sponsored a Tsunami-ravaged village of schoolchildren, and helped restock the shelves of a post-Katrina Harrison County, Mississippi. Ribon’s book drive can now be found at DeweyDonationSystem.org, which has sponsored libraries from the Negril School in Jamaica to the Children’s Institute in Los Angeles.

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Author Revealed

Q. how did you come to write Going in Circles?

A. I think anything I write comes from an equal desire to make people understand me while I'm desperately trying to determine exactly what's wrong with me.

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