The other day I was looking at my blog stats and noticed that the post “Regina, Kim, Justin and ‘Wasted’, Again” is by far and away my most viewed post. In fact, I often sit astounded at the way Wasted, my very first true crime book, affects people, sticks with them, and causes readers and TV viewers to search for more information on Regina Hartwell, Kim LeBlanc, and Justin Thomas.
Indeed, just last night I was having dinner with a book club that had read my memoir Secret Sex Lives: A Year on the Fringes of American Sexuality and the topic of Kim came up. That wasn’t a surprise. One of the members has a loose affiliation to Kim. But what surprised me is what she told me about Kim:
Kim no longer lives in Texas. And Kim’s on her third marriage.
Why in the world did that surprise me? Because whenever Kim has testified in court — and she’s testified in two trials against Justin Thomas — she has always insisted that she’s gotten herself and her life together, beautifully. In fact, you have to read the latest edition of Wasted to find out what Kim testified she’s doing now. It will stun you as much as it stunned Justin Thomas and me.
There were a few other things the book club member told me about Kim, but I don’t feel I can mention those without betraying confidences. Still, I thought my readers and viewers of Investigation Discovery’s Deadly Sins might be interested in that little update.
That same book club, which has several fans of true crime in it, had previously asked me if I had any book club questions for Secret Sex Lives. I don’t — yet. But I did have some for Wasted. And since Wasted will be featured on Investigation Discovery’s TV show Scorned this spring, I thought I’d share them with you.
Maybe you want to get ready for Scorned by having your own book club read Wasted. I think it will definitely spark conversation.
- Why do you think Suzy wrote Wasted?
- Do you think the story was worthy of a book?
- What are your feelings toward Regina? Kim? Justin?
- If Regina had been kin to you, would you have accepted her homosexuality? Why or why not?
- Do you think her homosexuality contributed to her murder?
- If you had a child who was a cheerleader and National Honor Society student, would you be worried about her or him?
- As a parent, how would you have reacted to Kim’s relationship with Regina?
- How would you have reacted to her being arrested for murder?
- Do you think Kim’s mother was a good parent? Why or why not?
- What do you think about Kim changing her story after all these years? That she and Regina weren’t lovers/were lovers?
- What do you think about Kim stating under oath that she was incriminating herself in murder by testifying?
- Do you think Kim was present during the murder? Do you think she got away with murder?
- Did any part of the book make you feel uncomfortable? If so, what part? How and why did it make you feel uncomfortable?
- What scene had the strongest effect on you? Why?
- Was there a scene that particularly touched your heart? If so, how and why?
- Do you think the characters got what they deserved? Regina? Kim? Justin? Was justice served?
- Should Justin’s family history and alcohol/drug history have prevented him from getting the death penalty?
- What do you think of Justin’s desire for the death penalty?
- Do you believe in the death penalty? If so, why? If not, why?
- How can you relate this book to your own life? Do you know people who have been sexually, emotionally or physically abused? Do they cope with the trauma through drugs or alcohol?
- Do you believe there is such a thing as emotional abuse?
- Do you consider teens getting drunk or high on weekends to be a normal life passage? A part of growing up? Why do believe what you do?
- How can parents, teachers, and judges become more knowledgeable about abuse? To recognize it? To talk to kids about it? To prevent it? To deal with it once it’s happened?
- What can you do to help prevent abuse and to help others who have been sexually, physically, or emotionally abused?