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Why Didn’t You Tell Me? Reader’s Guide

By Carmen Rita Wong

Why Didn't You Tell Me? by Carmen Rita Wong


Questions and Topics for Discussion

1. What does knowing our origins do for us and how might not knowing our true origins affect us? Why do you think we place so much importance on family history?

2. Describe the author’s feelings upon learning the truth? How does this change her relationship with the man who raised her? How would you have felt in her position?

3. Did the book give you any insight into your own family dynamics? How does your family’s culture or race influence these?

4. “In a span of eighteen months, I had lost my mother, my father, a whole racial, ethnic community, identity, and heritage.” There are still more seismic changes to come for Carmen. How does she handle these? How have you handled major changes in your life?

5. How does Carmen’s experience affect her own relationship with her daughter?

6. Referring to the book’s title, why do you think Carmen’s mother didn’t tell her the truth?

7. Every family has secrets. If family secrets are so universal, why do we still keep them?

8. What does Why Didn’t You Tell Me? ultimately say about family and identity? What did you take way from this reading experience?

9. How does this book make you think about your own relationship with your mother? Are there things about her that you don’t know and may never know?

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