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Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

Augusta, Gone: A True Story

1. Martha Tod Dudman knew her teenage daughter, Augusta, was in serious trouble long before she accepted it. Like many parents, Dudman did not want to confront her daughter's out-of-control behavior -- the smoking, the drugs, the bulimia, the disappearing for days at a time. What role does denial serve a parent? Can you be a good parent and be in denial about your child? Was the mother in this story a good parent? What about the father? Do all parents deny aspects of their children's personality or lifestyle?

2. People often argue about nature versus nurture in human development, especially when it comes to parent-child. Was Augusta destined for a rough adolescence because of her personality or was her mother and father's parenting to blame? Is Augusta's wildness genetic payback for Dudman's own rebellious youth? What could have been done differently to avoid the drastic measures that were eventually taken with Augusta?

3. Compare the behaviors of Augusta with her brother Jack. How can two children with the same parents be so different? If Augusta had not been sent away, would Jack have followed in her rebellious footsteps? Discuss Augusta and Jack's sister-brother relationship -- was there sibling rivalry?

4. The mother in Augusta, Gone is a high-powered executive and a single mother with a boyfriend. How do you think she was able to maintain this relationship during the height of Augusta's problems? How can women balance the demands of corporate life, motherhood, and their needs as women? Is Dudman a successful example of this?

5. From her children's youngest days, Dudman tried to be the kind of parent who really talked to her children. Why do you think her relationship with Augusta degenerated into "lies and exaggerations?" Is it just a normal part of teenage life?

6. Is Augusta, Gone a beacon of comfort and hope for parents or a cautionary tale? How did the characters in Augusta, Gone change from start to finish?

Augusta, Gone: A True Story
by Martha Tod Dudman

  • Publication Date: April 2, 2002
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial
  • ISBN-10: 0060014156
  • ISBN-13: 9780060014155