Study Guide

Nine Perfect Strangers Appearances

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You’ve probably been told to focus on your inner beauty more than once. We’re pretty sure the guests at Tranquillum House have heard that saying, too. But they can’t help but be a little obsessed with their looks. Take Carmel, who’s at the retreat to lose weight after her husband left her for a younger, prettier woman. And Jessica, who’s had so many cosmetic surgeries and procedures that even she’s probably lost count. Even Tony, the former athlete, wants to get his old body back. Tons of different bodies. Tons of different issues. It’s easy to say “you’re beautiful on the inside” when you’re not walking around in front of a stranger in a swimsuit.

Questions About Appearances

  1. Why do you think Ben hates Jessica's new appearance so much? 
  2. Frances becomes increasing self-conscious about her weight during the retreat. Why do you think that is? 
  3. Why do you think so many of the guests are focused on surface level appearances? What is it about our society that encourages us to look mostly at what's skin deep?

Chew on This

Masha changed her appearance to a sleek, beautiful goddess from her days as a frumpy corporate type, but that doesn't mean she did it in a healthy way. 

Carmel and Jessica both come to love their bodies but in very different ways. Carmel accepts who she is, while Jessica embraces her pursuit of cosmetic enhancements.

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