Reading Group Guide
1. What is it about the Mother/Father relationship that appears to be so difficult? Why does Walton allow Margaret to treat him with such disrespect? Why does Margaret feel the way she does and how do her feelings change over time?
2. Is Margaret Justified in being so harsh with Leah? What is her motivation? Why does Walton not intervene?
3. Blake was Leah's first love. Was she too young and inexperienced? Why couldn't she let herself get past him? In her mind, does the relationship become more than it ever was?
4. Leah sees Vic as her ticket out of Nashville. What was Leah searching for by escaping Nashville? How do her beliefs sustain her at this time?
5. Leah feels she should be happy but melancholy seems to follows her. Her father is gone, she is frustrated and full of self-pity and bitterness; she is in marital hell. Was her affair with Dan inevitable?
6. What about David? He is unforgiving and disowns his mother. Do you think his feelings and actions are justified?
7. After the divorce and over a period of time Leah meets other men but does not have a satisfactory relationship. Jay tells her she is incapable of loving anyone. Do you think that is so? Roberto tells her she must trust in life and dare to take a chance. Why is this such a hard thing for her to do?
8. Do you think Leah's choice to wander the country is meant as self-punishment? What is she looking for?
9. Life brings all of us some degree of pain and disappointment. Why could Leah not accept this as part of her life adventure?
10. What is the significance of The Explorer? Is he similar to Leah in any respects? What are the differences between them?
11. Since childhood, Leah was fascinated by the stars in the heavens. The theme of the stars reappears throughout the novel. Why? What is so important to Leah about stars in the sky? What about the significance of nature, the many references to the natural world, of land and sea and sky? How does it contrast to characters in the book?
12. Is Leah a tragic figure or a heroine? Is she representative of all people? How does Leah embody the inherent duality of the human condition?