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Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

Imperfect Endings: A Daughter

1. Mother/daughter relationships are the backbone of this story. Skim pages 80–84. Talk about each daughter’s relationship with her mother, and with the other daughters. Does Zoe really resent being pigeonholed, or do you think she finds comfort in her role in the family?

2. This book is about life, as well as death --- the flashbacks give glimpses of the young family, and Zoe's children are full of energy and excitement. How did this contrast with her mother desire to die?

3. The sisters, and their mother, all have different reactions to Jonathan’s alcoholism. Discuss their different ways of dealing with his problem. Are any effective?

4. Zoe's mother, Margaret, does not seem to notice significant problems with those around her, such as her husband’s affairs and Zoe’s anorexia. Yet she is very picky about little things, such as appearances. Do you believe she was innocently naïve and unaware of those larger issues, or was she perhaps willfully blind?

5. Zoe and her husband and sisters express feeling that Margaret is being selfish in her wish to die and have them help her. Is that too much to expect from a loved one? Does she truly have the right to end her own life, even though it has such an impact on those around her? Is there anything she could have done to make it easier on her family?

Imperfect Endings: A Daughter
by Zoe FitzGerald Carter

  • Publication Date: March 8, 2011
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • ISBN-10: 1439148317
  • ISBN-13: 9781439148310