> Skip to content

Book clubs  •  26 March 2024

 

What I Would Do to You book club questions

A stunning, thought-provoking debut to read with your book club.

Georgia Harper’s debut novel, What I Would Do to You, is a compulsively readable story set in a near future Australia. The death penalty is back, but if victims want justice, they must enact it themselves.

Full of family secrets, moral quandaries and deep questions about grief, punishment and justice, there is plenty in this book for your reading group to discuss.

Discussion points and questions

  • This book poses a big question about the nature of crime and punishment. Did you find yourself reassessing or even changing your own views on the topic at any point?
  • Did the background of the political and cultural debate over ‘survivor-led capital punishment’, as it is called in the book, remind you of any recent real-world issues? In what ways?
  • The Heathwood family are all vegan, despite the family farm producing beef cattle. How does this choice intersect with the issues at the heart of the novel?
  • Hannah undergoes various forms of preparation to toughen her body, mind and spirit. Can you imagine the ways you might prepare yourself for such a task?
  • Each of the members of the Heathwood family has a personal backstory that demonstrates the use, or misuse, of power. Which of the family members’ stories struck you the most?
  • Octavia has taken on an opportunity outside her comfort zone by agreeing to work with Lucy’s family, in the hope of reinvigorating her professional life. She struggles with the work at times throughout the novel. Can you imagine what Octavia would choose to do next? Would she continue with this type of work, return to the comfort of her practice, or perhaps choose to try something completely new?
  • What do you think the future looks like for Hannah after the end of the novel? What about Sebastian, Stella and Matisse?
  • The novel is set in a near-future Australia that is recognisable to readers of today but different in a number of ways. How likely are some of these societal and consumer practices, do you think?
  • What was the twist or reveal in the story that made you gasp, took you by surprise or had the biggest impact on you as a reader?
  • Lucy’s family all respond in different ways to her death. Which character did you most identify with in terms of how the crime affected them?
  • If you were asked to recommend a book to each character in the novel, what would you choose and why?
  • Non-human animals are a constant presence in this book. Was there an animal character or interaction that particularly stood out to you? What do you think the relationship between humans and animals says about us as a species?
  • How dark is too dark when it comes to crime fiction? Why do you think readers so often reach for thrillers and crime novels?
  • What would you do?

Feature Title

What I Would Do to You
A compulsively readable debut novel for those who could not put down Dirt Town or Before You Knew My Name.
Read more

More features

See all
Q&A
Georgia Harper says she ‘ruined her mum’s fantasy’

Find out why Georgia Harper’s writing routine ruined her mum’s idyllic vision of a writerly life. Plus, learn about her love for Anne Rice and her unlucky skill for attracting strangers’ stories.

Article
Some of the most anticipated books of 2024

From authors including Rachael Johns, Amor Towles, Leigh Bardugo and so many others!

Book clubs
The Cryptic Clue book club questions

The second book in The Tea Ladies series is a fun mystery to read with your book club.

Book clubs
A Gentleman in Moscow book club questions

A letter from the author and book club questions for one of Amor Towles' most popular books.

Article
The best books to read with your book club in autumn 2024

These are the Penguin Random House books that over 80,000 book clubs voted as the best group reads this month.

Article
Generate a husband

Generate a husband in honour of Holly Gramazio’s debut novel, The Husbands.

Q&A
Fun Fact: Sarah-Jane Collins wrote much of her debut novel in a bar

Sarah-Jane Collins shares how her background as a reporter inspired her to write her debut novel, Radiant Heat.

Q&A
Gareth Brown shares how a yearning to travel inspired The Book of Doors

Plus find out why he’d choose to live in Middle Earth and main difference between him and Hugh Jackman.

Q&A
How the characters from Abbey Lay’s Lead Us Not came to her in an imagined conversation

The debut author also shares the fictional character she’d most like to meet and why she loved Lemony Snicket’s writing as a child.

Q&A
Ferdia Lennon shares the Plutarch passage that inspired Glorious Exploits

Plus, find out why he taught himself to memorise an entire deck of cards while researching for the novel.

Q&A
How drama school inspired Chris MacDonald to write The Actor

Plus, learn about which fictional character he’d like to dine with and the musician he always turns to when singing karaoke.

Q&A
Lottie Hazell shares how she came up with the idea for Piglet

Plus, the cosy fictional world she’d most like to live in.

Looking for more book club notes?

See all book club notes