Chapter 12: Double Trouble

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Swedish Again: Chapter-By-Chapter Guide

Questions for Understanding

  1. Where was Anna when she got the text about an apartment offer?
  2. What did Fionn do when Anna texted him angrily?
  3. Why did Sinead get very angry and agitated? What started it?
  4. Did Anna accept the apartment offer?

Questions for Group Reflection and Discussion

  1. This chapter shows a day when Anna is not her best at parenting. How might she have avoided letting the situation deteriorate into a crisis?
  2. Towards the end of the day, Anna interprets the situation as Sinead having successfully punished her for taking Sinead’s phone. Do you agree with this? What are some ways family members might consciously (or unconsciously) punish each other?
  3. Anna rejects the apartment because it is so small that, “There would be no space for the kids and me to escape from each other.” How important do you think private space is in this situation? Would you have made the same decision?

Ideas for Further Consideration

  • This chapter describes a crisis which happens in the middle of something optimistic (the apartment offer.) Have you ever experienced two things happening on the same day which cause opposite types of feelings? What happened?
  • This chapter also deals with the very serious issue of teen mental health. When a teen is distraught, what are some important things to keep in mind? Is there a specific protocol one should follow?

Especially for English Language Learners

Key Words and Expressions:

(All from p. 123)

“slamming the door in your face.” = closing the door rudely and loudly while the other person is standing at the door

“I rattled off a response…” = I responded very quickly, typing fast

“a spoiled little brat” = an unruly child (This is not a kind thing to call someone.)

“back-and-forth spats” = small arguments with dialogue

“Sometimes it deteriorated into this.” = It sometimes got worse and became this. It went down to this level.

Grammar Focus:


In math, parallel lines are those which never meet. They go in the same direction. In grammar, parallelism means that the members of a list are all the same part of speech. For example, they are all nouns or all verbs. This is important in writing because it helps the reader understand the sentence.

Here are two examples:

(Chapter 12, page 123)

“The lady behind the desk smiled as she looked over my resume, thought for a moment, and suggested I work as an interpreter.”

Note that “looked,” “thought,” and “suggested” are all verbs. They all fit perfectly with the subject “she.” Each one can function separately. For example, “She suggested I work as an interpreter.” Because they are written in a parallel way, the sentence makes sense.

(Chapter 13, page 133)

“I was sitting in a subway train full of Swedish people, immigrants, and visitors from all over Europe.”

Note that “Swedish people,” “immigrants,” and “visitors” are all nouns or noun phrases. They all fit perfectly with the phrase “train full of” which comes before the list. Because they are parallel, it is easy for the reader to understand and follow the sentence.

Here is an example of a mistake:

“…a train full of Swedish people, immigrants, and some people were visiting.” (This almost makes sense because the part which is not parallel is the last one.)

And a bigger mistake: a train full of Swedish people, and immigrants were sitting there, and visitors.” (This is very confusing because the reader cannot find the logical connect back to “train full of…” The reader can get lost.)

Answers to Part 1

  1. She was downtown, outside the Public Employment Office.
  2. He replied, “BLOCK.” He blocked her messages.
  3. Anna took her phone.
  4. No. The apartment was too small.

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