Reading Group Guide
1. It seems Emmy did make the right decision in leaving Matt (although arguably she did not handle it in the best way), but why was she unable, after making that decision, to make some other productive decisions and move on with the rest of her life? Why does it take her so long to make the next step?
2. What is the significance of “Independence Day”? What does it mean in both Emmy’s and Josh’s life?
3. Why does Emmy end up interviewing so many fishermen’s wives? What questions is she asking, and what answers is she looking for in her own life through these women?
4. What is it about Berringer that makes him so attractive to Emmy? How might things be different with him than with Matt, or how does Emmy believe they will be different?
5. Do you believe, as Emmy seems to, that we create our own destiny by the choices we make, or do you believe more in fate, that whatever happens happens for a reason? What are the benefits/pitfalls of each view?
6. On page 26, when Emmy probes Josh about Meryl, he tells her not to “stir the pot.” This seems a bit odd since he brings up the subject with Emmy. Do you think he tells Emmy about Meryl because, at least subconsciously, he hopes Emmy will interfere? Matt says to Emmy, “Maybe it’s not your job to help [Josh]” (p. 162). Is it her job to help him? Should we try and help those around us get out of sticky situations? When does helping becoming interfering? How involved should we be in other people’s lives?
7. Emmy says that “wedding weekends . . . encourage people to revisit the past” (p. 34). Do you agree? What are some of your best/worst “wedding weekend” experiences? Have you experienced any wedding debacles?
8. The title of the novel refers back to a childhood decision Emmy makes regarding where the family should go on vacation. What does it say about Emmy that she chose London when the destination was supposed to be one the family could drive to, and how, if at all, does this foreshadow her future choices?
9. Emmy spends a lot of time thinking about how people met—she and Matt, Josh and Meryl, Berringer and Naomi, and her parents. How important is how two people meet, and does it predict at all their future success? What do you think of Josh’s theory that an entire relationship is based on what occurs “over the course of the first five minutes you know each other” (p. 56)?
10. Emmy says that “It wasn’t about which woman Josh ultimately chose—it was about which Josh Josh chose” (p. 107). What does Emmy mean?
11. After Emmy tells Elizabeth about her documentary, Elizabeth shares with Emmy the fortune cookie saying that read, “You can’t finish the things you weren’t supposed to start” (p. 108). What may Elizabeth be implying, both about herself and Emmy?
12. The chance occurrence of a blackout has a decisive effect on the events in the novel. How dependent are our lives on the intrusions of circumstances like blackouts, broken blinkers, etc.? Is this kind of dramatic impetus toward change the stuff of books and movies only? Are there examples from your own life?
13. Meryl suspects something is going on with Josh, and Emmy discovers that Matt was indeed having an affair when she had thought he no longer loved her. Do you think it’s impossible to hide these kinds of things from the people we’re close to? Should we always trust our instincts when it comes to our suspicions? What is the advantage of doing so, and what are the dangers?
London is the Best City in America
- Publication Date: January 30, 2007
- Paperback: 272 pages
- Publisher: Penguin (Non-Classics)
- ISBN-10: 0143038508
- ISBN-13: 9780143038504