Reading Group Guide
1. The first person narrative allows the reader to view the story entirely from Diana's perspective. What do you think of the narrative style? Were you comfortable being inside Diana's head the entire story?
2. At one point in the story, Diana says of her family and friends, "I pretend to everyone that I am okay, the Super Recoverer, and then, at night, I am infuriated that everyone believes me. Are they dumb? Or do they just not care?" (pg. 17). What do you think of this statement? Is Diana being fair to them? Is she justified in having these feelings?
3. A turning point for Diana happens when she hits Rosie with her car, an incident that is eerily reminiscent of what happened to Diana's parents. Why do you think the author chose this occurrence as the catalyst for Diana remaining in the Pine Barrens?
4. In one instance Diana says, "No wonder I have no boyfriend; I say awful things. I think awful things. I'm trying for that gallows humor, and instead I'm churlish and unfunny" (pg. 11). Do you agree with Diana's assessment of herself? Does her self-image change as the story progresses? How does she appear to the people around her?
5. Why does Diana allow Rosie, Louisa, and the others to believe that she is distraught over the breakup with her boyfriend? Why doesn't she tell them the truth?
6. How would you characterize Louisa? At times Louisa is cruel to Diana. Why does Diana remain in the Pine Barrens given these circumstances? How did you react to Louisa's motivations and behaviors? Did you empathize at all with Louisa?
7. When Sam tracks down Diana in the Pine Barrens, why does she at first rebuff his offer of kindness and support?
8. Do you think the author has effectively portrayed the emotions of someone who has suffered a tragedy? How about the actions of the people around her?
9. During their first encounter in the woods, Diana sees Jack only from a distance and yet she feels an instant attraction to him. What is about Jack that attracts her to him? Why does Diana reveal the truth about her family to Jack when she hasn't told the others?
10. Diana seeks refuge with her new friends in the Pine Barrens for her own reasons, but how does she in turn help and influence the people that she meets?
- Publication Date: April 17, 2002
- Genres: Fiction
- Paperback: 272 pages
- Publisher: Miramax
- ISBN-10: 0786890371
- ISBN-13: 9780786890378