Skip to main content

Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

Happiness Sold Separately

1. The story is told from multiple points of view. Did you find that reading each character's point of view allowed you to understand their "side" of the story better? Once you got inside a new character's head, were there things you learned about them that made them more sympathetic to you?

2. At one point, Ted seems to be in love with two women at the same time. Do you think this is possible for some people? Do you think he is in love with Elinor, or does he just love her? Can we go from one to the other and then back again?

3. While Elinor didn't put off getting pregnant, she spent many years of her life focusing on her career, and perhaps that's why she married later in life. Do you think that women who make personal sacrifices for corporate America tend to regret it more so than men?

4. How does Toby complicate the story for each of the characters? What does Ted get from his relationship with Toby and Gina that he doesn't seem to feel he gets from his marriage?

5. If Elinor hadn't miscarried, do you think she and Ted definitely would have stayed together forever?

6. Is it possible to have an amicable divorce? If so, do you think Ted and Elinor would have had one?

7. Is it ever forgivable to have an extramarital affair? If so, do you think Ted's affair was, or ever would be forgivable to Elinor? Was it understandable to you, as a reader?

8. Which of the characters did you find most sympathetic at the beginning of the novel? At the end?

9. What do you think happens after the last page of the novel? What would you do, if you were Elinor? What if you were Gina?

10. What is the significance of the tree in the yard? Does it have symbolic value?

Happiness Sold Separately
by Lolly Winston

  • Publication Date: June 19, 2007
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • ISBN-10: 044669939X
  • ISBN-13: 9780446699396