I was excited to read this book and then I started it and I remembered that I had felt weirdly about the other Joyce Maynard book I read and I crossed my fingers it would be a good one.
1. As reported by Henry, his mother Adele displays a number of behaviors that could be interpreted as crazy. How do you explain her son's steadiness and competence? Do you consider Adele to be a bad mother?
2. When you were first introduced to the character of Frank (p. 5), what was your feeling about him? As you learned more about Frank over the course of the story, did your impression of him change? If so, what details and actions can you identify that caused you to alter your opinion of him?
At first I thought he was a little slow. I also think he really loved his mother and really wanted her to be okay.
3. Were you surprised that Adele was willing to bring Frank to her home? Why do you think she did?
She liked going against the status quo and she didn't like being out in public and she didn't have much to lose so why not?
4. Were you surprised to discover than Frank is a good baker? What does his baking ability tell you about him? Why do you think the author chose to offer such a detailed description of Frank's pie-making technique?
Well it shows a human side of him and not the evil escaped prisoner version that one would expect. Also, it's foreshadowing.
5. . Henry often refers to a "normal family," a "regular family," a "family." What does the concept of family mean to Henry? What does the term "normal family" mean to you?
6. What was your first impression of the character of Eleanor? Did this impression change as you got to know her better? Why do you think Eleanor behaves as she does?
She's crazy and not telling him her whole story. I just added drug addict as we went along. Also, I think having characters named Evelyn and Eleanor is a little too confusing. Or it was for me at least since neither were very well developed.
7. How does Eleanor go about instilling fear and doubts about Frank in Henry? Why do you think she does this? What is she hoping to accomplish?
8. Were you surprised by what Henry says and does when he encounters Eleanor again, a year later, walking her dog? What do you think has caused Eleanor to become the person she is? Why is her dog named Jim?
9. Frank's experience with Adele and Henry cost him eighteen years of his life, and yet he expresses gratitude for having met them. How can this be? Do you believe the kind of love that existed between Adele and Frank can truly exist?
I'm not really show how I feel about this book. I think after the climax it just lost its appeal. I didn't like the ending, would be the best way to sum it up. It was too much tidying up the corners and I don't know. Maybe a different ending would make me like it more. What did you think?
Next month we will be reading The Rent Collector, hope you join us!