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Book Club Kits: It's Been a Pleasure, Noni Blake

Alamance County Public Libraries offer Book Club Kits for check out to area book clubs. Each kit contains 10 copies of a book and a reading guide.

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Book Summary

Claire Christian's sparkling adult debut is the millennial rom-com you've been waiting for: feminist, queer, sex-positive and shamelessly feel-good.

Of all the women and men Noni Blake has pleased in her life, there's one she's often overlooked--herself. After the end of a decade-long relationship, Noni decides it's time for that to change. She's finally going to prioritize her wants and desires and only do things (and people) that feel good in the moment. As she embarks on a pleasure-seeking quest that takes her halfway around the world, she discovers that maybe she can have everything, and everyone, she's ever wanted.

Discussion Questions

It’s Been a Pleasure, Noni Blake by Claire Christian Discussion Questions

  1. What do you think of the overall concept of Noni’s story – putting oneself first and the singular pursuit of pleasure?
  2. Does the idea of Noni’ trip to Europe, and her wish to simply pursue pleasure, appeal to you? Which part of it appeals to you most?
  3. Would you ever consider going on your own pleasure quest? What would your pleasure quest look like?
  4. Noni, Lindell, and Graham write their “should-have-could-have-would-have” lists about people they never slept with but wish they had. Do you have such a list, not necessarily for sexual dalliances but for any paths not taken in your life?
  5. Do you agree with Lindell’s assertion that we get used to ourselves as we age, and that’s what makes us more comfortable with ourselves in general? How have you found you’ve changed and grown as you’ve gotten older?
  6. Noni has to work hard to speak nicely to herself, versus saying damaging things to herself, which comes more naturally to her. Do you think women are harder on themselves than men are? If so, why do you think that is? What feeds the narrative that runs through women’s minds?
  7. Before she commits to embarking on her pleasure quest, Noni makes a decision she regrets – to sleep with Ben. She feels no but says yes. What did you think of her decision to go home with him when so much of her didn’t want to? Why do you think she went against her better judgement?
  8. When Noni meets Lil at the yoga retreat in Scotland, Lil tells her: “There were already so many things in the world, even people, that were inevitably going to make me unhappy, and I didn’t know why I’d been letting myself be the main culprit for so long.” What did you think of this statement? Do you think we are often the culprits of our own unhappiness? If so, how can we overcome this?
  9. Noni makes a list under the header “What Pleasure Looks Like to Me” that includes points like being the first on the dance floor, or wearing whatever you want. What would your list look like? What would ultimate pleasure look like to you?
  10. Despite her growing confidence, Noni doesn’t understand why Beau could want someone like her. Why do you think that is? Can you identify with her feelings within their relationship?
  11. Did you have a favorite scene in the novel? What was it? Why was it your favorite?
  12. If you were to cast the movie version of It’s Been a Pleasure, Noni Blake, who would you cast in the various roles?

About the Author and About the Book

Claire Christian is a writer and theater-maker who lives in Brisbane. She has had four plays published by Playlab and was one of the YWCA Queensland”s 125 Leading Women in 2013. Her debut novel, Beautiful Mess, won the Text Prize for Young Adult & Children’s Writing in 2016. It’s Been a Pleasure, Noni Blake is her first novel for adults.

Claire’s debut young adult novel BEAUTIFUL MESS won the 2016 Text Publishing Text Prize. It has been translated into four languages across five different countries – and counting. She is currently working on adapting it to film. In 2019 she secured a three-book deal with Text Publishing, the first of which will be released in October 2020. It’s Been A Pleasure, Noni Blake is a pleasure seeking, queer, romantic comedy.


She has had the great joy of directing Michelle Law’s smash-hit play SINGLE ASIAN FEMALE from 2017. Claire is a proud member of the theatre collective THE MAMAS BOYS.

Claire has over fifteen years’ experience teaching, and facilitating, across multiple education and community sectors; where she mostly works with teenagers helping them to tell excellent stories.

What inspired her to write the book:

“I read, or listened to, Elizabeth Gilbert say something along the lines of pay attention to the conversations you keep having, because there could be energy in that…it could be your muse trying to tell you something. So, I paid attention and realized I kept having conversations with predominately women who would reflect back on their lives and say things like ‘If I knew then what I know now.’ or “If I felt the way I do about myself now, then, well, lots of things in my life would be different.’ And I found that concept fascinating – woman feeling more confident in herself trying to go back and do things differently. That’s what book I thought I was writing when I began…Noni having sex with the people she wished she had. But then it became about more, it became about Noni and valuing the pleasure in her life. The more I read and wrote about women and pleasure, the more I realized it had to be about more than just sex. I did an anonymous survey very early on, asking women what they thought about pleasure, about fantasies, about what in their lives would be different if they prioritized pleasure…a lot of the moments in the book came from those insights.