Questions and Topics for Discussion
1. Discuss the examples you see in this particular multi-generational family, or in your own life, of the ways that children can repeat or mutate the strengths and the mistakes that their parents handed down to them.
2. Astrid thinks about the role that birth order has played in the personalities of her three children, and how their own individual childhood experiences have helped to shape the adults they have become. To what degree do you think she is correct in her conclusions about the forces that shaped her children? In what ways are the choices they have made as adults reflective of their younger selves? How much do you think birth order plays a role?
3. Why does Astrid choose to tell her children about her relationship with Birdie when she does? What results from that conversation? Why does she keep this relationship from her kids for as long as she does? Do you think Birdie becomes part of the Strick family over the course of the novel?
4. Compare and contrast Nicky and Juliette’s marriage with Elliot and Wendy’s. How are these two couples portrayed?
5. In what ways does Rachel provide Porter with certain aspects of partnership? How does Porter value her relationship with Rachel and how do her feeling change over the course of the book?
6. What do Cecelia and August understand about forgiveness that the older characters do not? How do they provide the adults with a model for how to be true to yourself and what you believe?