Discussion: The Program by Suzanne Young

1) What do you think of Young’s portrayal of depression? Is it accurate, to your knowledge?

I think this definitely depends on your experience. Personally, I believe Young does a great job portraying the quiet sadness, hopelessness, desolation, and isolation of depression. Sloane is a fighter, but we also see that she can’t fully deny her feelings, and we witness her struggle between letting her emotions overcome her and fighting through the haze of her depression.

2) Does Young do a good job of portraying the intense emotions integral to the story in The Program?

Again, I think Young does a great job of capturing the intense emotion (sadness, isolation, confusion, love, etc.) of Sloane and other characters. Young offers deep insight into Sloane’s mind, holding nothing back and keeping no secrets.

3) What do you think of the idea of depression and suicide as an epidemic?

I think it is an interesting idea for a fictional story. The idea intrigued me, because I think there is truth in the idea that emotions spread like yawns. That being said, it is my personal opinion that this idea is completely fictional and it is the responsibility of the reader to keep that in mind.

4) If you had the choice, would you send your loved ones to The Program if they had been “infected”?

   No. Definitely not. I think depression runs deeper than experience and it is something that you must train your mind to overcome (much like Tris’s fear training with the Dauntless simulations in Divergent by Veronica Roth). Removing memories doesn’t remove an emotion, in my opinion.

6) Do you think it is your memories that make you who you are or that something else does?

Absolutely not. I think your character and your actions make up who you are. There are plenty of people, good and bad, who have lost their memories, but the spirit of who they are remains the same. Our choices make us.

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