Warning: Spoilers Ahead
1. We first learn about Mary as a fifty-four year old woman. Next, we see her as a young eighteen-year old. From there, the novel travels
back and forth in time. Why do you think the author chose that pattern?
2. Did you find it believable that Mary was the young Maryann and vice versa? Why or why not?
3. While Maryann was in grade thirteen, she resumed her close friendship with Charlie. Did you find it surprising that these two very different characters could still be best friends? If so, what qualities did both characters have that allowed them to continue their close friendship? If you believe that their friendship was unrealistic, explain your reasoning.
4. Maryann was brainwashed to a certain degree, but what was it that allowed her to escape and eventually settle back into a more traditional lifestyle?
5. Maryann’s grandmother, Kate is not an active character as she is mainly just talked about. Do you think that she is an important character? Why or why not?
6. Joan relied on her parents, as her husband, Brad, was unable to cope with her illness. Do you think that Joan’s parents were too over powering in her situation? Do you feel that Brad and Joan may have worked harder at their relationship if her parents weren’t so involved?
7. Times have certainly changed from the late sixties to our present day. What are a few of the late sixties societal viewpoints, reflected in the novel, that are very different today? Did anything concerning the late sixties or the goings on of the fictionalized cult surprise or shock you?
8. How did Charlie come across to you—sympathetic, silly, funny, unbelievable, fragile, humane, ridiculous? How about picking your own adjectives to describe him. Be sure to explain why.
9. In your opinion, who or what (reason) was most responsible for Maryann joining the cult?
10. Who was your favourite main character? Why? Who was your favourite secondary character? Why?
11. What character traits do both Maryann and Joan possess that helped them get through their different crisis?
12. What message or messages did you get out of this novel?
* There are no right or wrong answers to any of these questions.