Questions for Book Clubs

  1. If you learned you had two years left to live, how would you change your life right now? If you learned your husband or wife had two years left, how do you imagine your reaction might be different?
  2. At what point does Leslie seem most conflicted? How does she face the unanswerable elements of her situation?
  3. Leslie bristles at insensitive comments people make about Elliot's illness. What rude things have people said to you in times of crisis? What would have been more helpful? How did you respond?
  4. Has a tragedy changed your religious views in some way? How?
  5. When Leslie tells her children that Elliot used medical marijuana before it was legal, she says that sometimes you have to break the rules to do the right thing. Have you ever broken a law, or under what circumstances would you do so?
  6. After an embarrassing quarrel in the chemo unit with Elliot, Leslie says "maybe a marriage is like muscle that you have to strain and flex and stretch to strengthen." How does this image apply to your own life?
  7. For better or worse, in sickness or health - have you wondered how far you would go to uphold these vows? Would you follow the advice that Leslie embraced, "Don't be afraid to grow closer?"
  8. What role does food play in the evolution of Leslie's stepfamily? How do you see food - as either a source of togetherness or tension - in your family's life?
  9. Leslie doesn't shield her children from the sad physical realities of their stepfather's deterioration. How do you see her decision?
  10. The book shares Elliot's intimate emails and letters. Is that an invasion of his privacy? What are the pros and cons to you as a reader?
  11. Leslie and Elliot never really talk directly about death, or how she would take care of their family after he dies. How do you feel about that choice?
  12. At the end of the book, Leslie feels deeply torn about when - or even whether - to start dating again. What would you do, and how long would you wait? How long would you want your partner to wait?
  13. What is the symbolism of the peach that Leslie sketches and then eats with Elliot? "We live for moments like this," she says. What is a moment in your life that stands out this way?
  14. Besides the written and spoken word, how do Leslie and Elliot show their love for each other? Are some ways of expressing love more meaningful to you than other ways?
  15. What might you do for a partner or lover to help make the final days - or the last kiss - the best possible?