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About The Book

The author of the “brazenly hilarious, tell-it-like-it-is first novel” (Oprah Daily) Queenie returns with another witty and insightful novel about the power of family—even when they seem like strangers.

If you could choose your family...you wouldn’t choose the Penningtons.

Dimple Pennington knows of her half siblings, but she doesn’t really know them. Five people who don’t have anything in common except for faint memories of being driven through Brixton in their dad’s gold jeep, and some pretty complex abandonment issues. Dimple has bigger things to think about.

She’s thirty, and her life isn’t really going anywhere. An aspiring lifestyle influencer with a terrible and wayward boyfriend, Dimple’s life has shrunk to the size of a phone screen. And despite a small but loyal following, she’s never felt more alone in her life. That is, until a dramatic event brings her half siblings Nikisha, Danny, Lizzie, and Prynce crashing back into her life. And when they’re all forced to reconnect with Cyril Pennington, the absent father they never really knew, things get even more complicated.

From an author with “a flair for storytelling that appears effortlessly authentic” (Time), People Person is a vibrant and charming celebration of discovering family as an adult.

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for People Person includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book

Introduction

If you could choose your family . . . you wouldn’t choose the Penningtons.

Dimple Pennington knows of her half siblings, but she doesn’t really know them. They’re people who don’t have anything in common except for faint memories of being driven through Brixton in their dad’s gold Jeep, and some pretty complex abandonment issues. Besides, Dimple has bigger things to think about.

She’s thirty, and her life isn’t really going anywhere. An aspiring lifestyle influencer with a terrible and wayward boyfriend, Dimple’s world has shrunk to the size of a phone screen. And despite a small but loyal following, she’s never felt more alone. That is, until a dramatic event brings her half siblings Nikisha, Danny, Lizzie, and Prynce crashing back into her life. And when they’re all forced to reconnect with Cyril Pennington, the absent father they never really knew, things get even more complicated.

From an author with “a flair for storytelling that appears effortlessly authentic” (Time), People Person is a vibrant and charming celebration of discovering family as an adult.

Topics & Questions for Discussion

1. “Although he was, unknowingly, a master of detachment, Cyril saw himself as more of a people person than a father” (p. 1). The titular phrase is discussed multiple times throughout the novel—what is your interpretation of a “people person”? Why do you think Cyril describes himself this way despite having complex relationships with almost every character?

2. Early on the five Pennington siblings are introduced to one another for the first time at their father’s insistence. Despite his lack of involvement in their lives, Cyril is taken aback when the outing doesn’t go how he expected. Why do you think he was so adamant for the children to meet? If the interaction went well do you think it would’ve changed his relationship with his children?

3. The siblings all have distinct personalities that create an interesting dynamic between the five of them. What were your first impressions of the Pennington children? Did you like them?

4. The novel is told from Dimple’s point of view: Why do you think the author decided to tell the story this way? Do you think the story would change if it was told through a different character’s perspective? Why or why not?

5. In Chapter three, Dimple’s four siblings help her deal with the Kyron incident. Most of them have little to no communication with one another prior to this, yet they all come to Dimple’s aid. Why do you think they decide to help?

6. Out of the five siblings only Nikisha and Prynce grew up together. How do you think that impacts the characters as they start to develop meaningful relationships with one another? If all the siblings got to be raised together, do you think their dynamic would be different?

7. The children’s four mothers all had a very different relationships with Cyril, greatly informing their respective parenting styles. This becomes even more evident when the women run into one another at the nine night. How do you think these experiences impacted each Pennington childs’ perception of Cyril and their siblings?

8. Carty-Williams writes in chapter nine: “You aren’t a bad person, you did what you had to do. Women are just made to feel bad for making the choices that they need to make. . . . Stand in your choices, little sister. That’s all the advice I can offer you.” Why do you think that was important for Dimple to hear from Nikisha?

9. We come to learn that Cyril was raised by his grandparents and aunt in Jamaica for most of his childhood before he was sent to England to live with his mother, Delores, and her new husband and kids. In what ways do you think Cyril’s upbringing impacted the relationship he’s decided to have with his own family?

10. Nikisha gives the eulogies at both the funerals and explains she does so because she is the eldest. Were you surprised that she delivered the speeches? Do you believe her reasoning for taking on that responsibility? Why or why not?

11. Identity and belonging are reoccurring themes in People Person that Dimple must navigate. How do these themes develop throughout the novel? What is the greatest influence on Dimple’s journey to discovering herself?

12. Dimple reflects on the fact that outside of her mom she doesn’t have any friends. How has this loneliness informed her decisions over the course of her life?

Enhance Your Book Club

1. In the book that Dimple loves astrology and uses it to better understand the people around her, especially her siblings. As a group, look up your zodiac signs and discuss if you think they are accurate representations of each other.

2. Music plays a significant part in Cyril’s life and creates one of the few positive memories his children associate with him. Pick one song that you feel best represents each Pennington child. Make a playlist and have your book club guess which song you picked for each character.

3. Although the novel primarily follows Dimple, People Person is a story filled with a cast of fascinating characters. If you could pick any other character besides Dimple to be the main character in a new book, who would it be? Discuss why you picked that character and what story you’d like to be told.

About The Author

Emil Huseynzade

Candice Carty-Williams is a writer and the author of the Sunday Times (London) bestselling Queenie, which has been shortlisted by Goodreads for book of the year in 2019. In 2016, Candice created and launched the Guardian 4th Estate BAME Short Story Prize, the first inclusive ini­tiative of its kind in book publishing. Candice has written for The Guardiani-DVogue, every itera­tion of The Sunday Times (London), Beat magazine, Black Ballad, and more. She will probably always live in South London. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @CandiceC_W.

Why We Love It

“One father, five children, four mothers: welcome to the modern family of South London. As she so exquisitely rendered in her debut Queenie, Candice Carty-Williams’s new novel People Person digs deep into the trauma of what it means to be a person navigating the complicated, noisy gauntlet of the contemporary world. And in this quite funny, ultra-modern story she once again shows that family can come in all kinds of forms proving the ties that bind can often be surprising.”

—Alison C., VP, Executive Editor, on People Person

Product Details

  • Publisher: Gallery/Scout Press (September 13, 2022)
  • Length: 336 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781501196041

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Raves and Reviews

"Fresh, funny, poignant—of the moment."—Oprah Daily

 “A dark comedy, full of zinging dialogue, vivid characters and all the consolations and complications of family. A treat.” —Jesse Armstrong, creator of Succession

"Candice Carty-William’s sophomore novel is a charming delight. Here is a big-hearted story about five siblings who find a way to become a family despite the absence of their itinerant father... An incredibly satisfying read."—Roxanne Gay, New York Times Bestselling author of Hunger

 

"A hilarious romp." —Oprah Quarterly

“A big-hearted story of a young woman coming to terms with her complicated London family from the author of the game-changing Queenie.” —The Guardian

“The ambition behind Carty-Williams’s novel calls to mind what Zadie Smith brought to her first novel, ‘White Teeth.’ And to some extent, Carty-Williams is to south London what Smith is to the north: a sharp, humorous voice that paints greater London’s Black communities with the nuance they deserve.”—Washington Post

“A darkly comedic novel of family… As heartfelt as it is hilarious. Carty-Williams probes hard questions about race, microaggressions and abandonment within a larger, somehow softer story about what makes a family, what makes a friend and what happens when the two are one and the same.” —Shelf Awareness

"...A big-hearted reminder that a messy family is still a family." —Time Magazine

People Person is more than just the title of this phenomenal second novel. It’s a statement of intent. It’s a declaration that when Candice Carty-Williams writes, she captures the hearts and minds of readers everywhere.” —Melissa Cummings-Quarry, Black Girls Book Club

“People Person is a triumph. I was so moved by this tender, often humorous, portrait of these five siblings, their burgeoning relationships and all their complexities. I loved every one of these beautifully rendered characters and I’m sure the world will too. I couldn’t put it down.”  —Caleb Nelson, author of Open Water

“Wonderful. People Person is about 5 half-siblings (1 dad, 4 mothers) who, in response to a crisis, meet as adults and start shaping themselves into a family. It's a warm novel, funny and full of emotional intelligence. The tone is light-hearted, even comic at times, but underneath there's an undertow, a steady drumbeat reminding us of all the microaggressions black people experience on a daily basis - and that white people are mostly oblivious of. I cannot recommend it highly enough.” —Marian Keyes

“People Person is a portrait of a family that is as poignant as it is hilarious. It had me belly-laughing, then picking up my jaw from the floor, then nodding in delighted agreement. Candice is a writer who is not only revealing modern Britain with each of her novels; she is defining it. Cyril Pennington is a character for the ages, but this story truly belongs to the children he never managed to parent. I loved it.” —Sara Collins

“I loved People Person. Candice is so gifted at pulling you in as a writer. The storyline is hugely arresting and I was gripped immediately. Candice is remarkably perceptive in the way she writes people; her characters that are so well drawn, and so believable. When I wasn't reading People Person I was thinking about it and I had to finish it at the earliest opportunity.” —Annie Mac

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