Your Next Book Club Discussion – Bartlett’s Rule

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     She nodded. Memories flitted through her mind as if the event had just occurred. She swore she could feel the shock and disbelief… and the pain. “Hal was distraught. He begged me to take him back… again. But I couldn’t. He kept calling me but I kept saying no.” She paused unsure whether she could continue, but when she looked at Lon and saw his compassion staring back, she felt stronger. “He was waiting in the apartment one day when I got home from work. I hadn’t thought to change the lock. I didn’t realize he still had a key. He was crying and he begged me to talk, just talk. So I said okay.”
     Lon saw Paige glance at the clock over the stove. Her courage seemed to falter. “Take your time. There’s no hurry.”
     “We argued again. I asked him to leave. He refused. So I said I was going out for a while and would he please be gone by the time I got back.” She felt the sob build inside her. “I finally went to walk out, he grabbed me just inside the door of the apartment, pushed me to the floor, held me down covering my mouth, pulled my clothes off and entered me. Hal said he was showing me he loved me. It was painful. I must have formed a mental block because although I remember being scared about pregnancy, I honestly couldn’t remember or figure out if he used a condom or came in me.”
     He suppressed the ripple of anger he felt. “You were in shock.”
     “I never thought he would really hurt me and believe it or not, I was afraid in the beginning of the attack to fight back and hurt him. So in some ways, I almost feel as if I let him do what he did because by the time I did start to fully fight, he had me pinned down. I couldn’t get him off of me.”
     He waited. She was quiet and just stared at the table top. “What happened next?”
     “I… I got up and got dressed and I left. I went to a friend’s house. I thought she was a friend. I was crying so hard. I remember her saying to me ‘Well what did you expect, you never said no to him before.’ The guilt really set in after that and I blamed myself.”
     Sighing, Lon realized how Paige had been betrayed twice, once by Hal and once by that so-called friend. “So you didn’t think you had the right to report it as a crime.”
     She cried. “She convinced me it was my fault. And I knew I hadn’t fought the way I should have. I waited a while and then I called my apartment to make sure he had gone. I went home and showered. I douched. I tried to wash it away. I even threw out the clothes he had torn off of me.”
     Lon stood and started to go to her. Then he thought to ask first. “May I hold you?”
     Paige choked back her tears and nodded. “I’d like that.” She stood and went into his arms. It felt good to be comforted.
     “Ssh.” He held her and soothed her hair away from her face. “None of it was your fault. Hal had no right to do what he did to you.”
     “But I didn’t fight him.”
     “You trusted him. He betrayed that trust.”
     “I… I thought he loved me. He was the first man I had ever been with. We had been sleeping together from before we got engaged. My friend was right, I never told him no.”
     “Your so-called friend wasn’t much of a friend. You didn’t do anything wrong, Paige.”
     She cried into his shoulder and Lon just held her.
Bartlett’s Rule by Chelle Cordero

Your next book club discussion: Bartlett’s Rule

• How does Bartlett’s Rule explore the two distinct personalities of the main
• Discuss how the different personalities emerge in the beginning of the
novel. Do these personalities stay constant?
• How much do you think society’s expectations influenced Lon towards
building his reputation as a player?
• What pressures does society place on men in relationships? How different
are those pressures now in 2008 as opposed to, let’s say, the 1950’s?

• Lon admits he has to rethink his view of rape when he learns that Paige was
raped by an ex-lover and not a stranger with a weapon. Discuss different
concepts of what is rape, what is sexual abuse?
• Have a discussion about Paige’s emotional scars and the trust she felt was
betrayed. Should Paige “just get over it”? How realistic are some of her
reactions? Was Paige allowing herself to move ahead? Discuss Lon’s support of
• Hal attempts to blame people like Lon for the way he treated Paige. How
does TV/music/movies/novels affect actions and at what point is the individual
responsible for his/her own actions? For example, courtroom dramas like to
blame the influence of TV, etc. for today’s violence.
• Some TV/radio/print personalities enjoy an almost cult following and are
considered “experts” in their various fields. Discuss some of these selfproclaimed “experts”: Dr. Ruth, Oprah, Dr. Phil, Geraldo, etc. Do these ‘stars’
sensationalize rape? How so?
• How do you think you would feel if your private life, particularly romance,
was scrutinized by the paparazzi? How much does a public figure owe to the
public and fans in terms of privacy? How much does the media have the right to

buy links: Bartlett’s Rule by Chelle Cordero