1. The title of the book emphasises the parents in the story. What is your opinion on the choice of title? What would you have called the book and why?
2. How do you think the author went about gaining Simon and Jock Palfreeman’s support to write the book? If you were in their situation, what would you be weighing up in your decision to speak to journalists?
3. Parts of the book refer to Jock’s choice of appearance – choices that made him stand out in Bulgaria. How much does appearance contribute how people are perceived? Did this, in your opinion, effect the case? What other factors do you think played a part?
4. As you were reading, how important was it for you to determine Jock’s innocence or guilt? What occupied your thoughts as you reflected on the details of the case?
5. Simon Palfreeman was involved in representing Jock at the trial. As a parent, how do you imagine this would effect you and your relationships with other family members? If you were in a similar situation, would you do this for someone?
6. What particular themes from the book resonated or caught your interest as you read the book? What particularly stood out about the story to you? Were there other themes you identified?
Here are some of the things we discussed:
* Different legal system
* Role of media
* Role of alcohol
* Wrong place/wrong time
* Young people travelling overseas and getting into trouble
7. What particular audience do you imagine the author had in mind when she was writing the book? What particular emotions or issues do you think she was trying to draw the reader to? Do you think this was achieved?
8. Being in a position of bystander to an offence presents possible risks to a bystanders safety. What dilemmas does being a bystander present? And where do you think the responsibilities lie? How much should a bystander become involved? When should we help a stranger under attack? Does ‘helping’ make things worse? Does doing nothing make us less human?
9. It’s not until about half way through the book that the author mentions herself as “I”. Were you interested in her views and opinions or do you prefer to be left to your own reflections?
10. Speculate about the impact of the book on all the parents involved? and Jock? and the author?