1. In Things Are Going to Slide is Marilee fair to Dwight? Is she a reliable narrator? Does she forgive him for betraying her? What kind of future do you see for Marilee and Dwight?
2. Marilee invades Dwight’s privacy to try to find out if he’s written a book, looking at his personal e-mail and writing colleagues who might know more. Did you approve or disapprove of that behavior? Is it ever justified to look at a colleague’s e-mail? A lover’s? Your child’s? Under what circumstances?
3. Was Marilee subject to sexism when she was passed over for the job? Does it make a difference that the person who was responsible was another woman? Would she have fared better if she weren’t a working mom? A pregnant working mom? How common is gender disparity today in the workplace?
4. When Marilee learns that Ellie’s inability to hop on one foot may be significant, she feels like a “criminal mom.” Do mothers feel responsible for everything that is wrong with their children? Do fathers? If so, to the same degree?
5. Discuss betrayal as it manifests itself across a wide range of connections – between spouses, parents and children, lovers and colleagues – in Things Are Going to Slide.
6. In the midst of her own personal dilemmas, Marilee must fight for the innocence of a teenage mother accused of killing her own child. Is Marilee the best lawyer for the job? Does society owe young, poverty stricken mothers support? Do the other individuals represented by the law clinic deserve legal help and societal support? What would have happened had Dwight not been available to take on Cindy’s representation?
7. Several different mothers are featured in the novel (Marilee, Cindy, and Ms. Garcia). What are the similarities and differences in these mothers and their approaches to their role as mothers?
8. What role does the South play in the novel? Do you think the problems Marilee has are unique to the South?
9. How would you describe Dede and Marilee’s relationship? Does Marilee rely on Dede more than she relies on her mother? How much does Marilee need Dede to help her figure out what she really feels, whom she really loves?
10. Is the relationship between Marilee and her ex, Rick, typical? Why isn’t there more acrimony?
11. What is the significance of the title, Things are Going to Slide?