Reading Group Guide

Discussion questions to enhance your book club's enjoyment of The Perfect Insult for Every Occasion:

  1. On page nine, Lady Snark mentions that she was convicted for her husband’s death after he was devoured by a crocodile in his bathtub. Have you ever wanted to feed your husband to a crocodile? Why or why not?
  2. How do you think the time Lady Snark spent living on the cannibal island influenced her attitudes toward entertaining?
  3. What is the particular significance of Lady Snark’s interest in Latin and Greek? Given that English has become the new lingua franca, how useful do you think classical languages are as a mode of insulting people?
  4. Gratuitous violence, vast wealth and copious amounts of alcohol are recurrent themes in The Perfect Insult. Which of these has been most influential in shaping Lady Snark’s character?
  5. Lady Snark alludes to her past illicit relationships with Aristotle Onassis and Bill Paley, among others. If you were going to sleep with someone else’s husband, who would it be?
  6. As noted in the legal disclaimer (p. 217) some of the advice given by the Countess could result in something unfortunate happening to you. In your opinion, is crushing a rival with a wounding remark worth the risk of permanent disfigurement? Explain your answer.
  7. Unlike Lynn Truss, author of Eats, Shoots & Leaves, Lady Snark advises readers to patiently ignore what they see as grammatical errors. If Lady Snark and Lynn Truss were to engage in a fight to the death, who do you think would win?

"Basically, the book is our NEW BIBLE, and that's not something we admit to lightly."

-Sharon Steele, The Boston Phoenix


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