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A Walk on the Beach Reader’s Guide

By Joan Anderson

A Walk on the Beach by Joan Anderson


Joan Anderson’s strength, insight, and sheer audacity in taking a year for herself, away from her husband and family, have made her an inspiration to the countless women who have read her books and attended her seminars. Her year by the sea and its astonishing benefits were enriched by her friendship with Joan Erikson, whose wisdom and spirit inspired so many of Anderson’s adventures – including the adventure of writing her first memoir, A Year by the Sea. Readers of that book and An Unfinished Marriage will recognize Erikson as a trusted friend and confidante, but in A Walk on the Beach the reader can experience firsthand Erikson’s infectious spirit and zeal for the magic of daily adventures.

Questions and Topics for Discussion

1. Is there anyone in your life whom you would consider a personal mentor? Do you fill this role for anyone else? Do you believe that these relationships are more important at some points in your life?

2. Do you think that age necessarily makes one wiser?

3. Joan Erikson demonstrated her ideas about life through weaving, and she remained a dancer throughout her life. Is there a craft or activity that you practice that involves your spirit as well as your body?

4. Our culture places a high premium on youth. What have you gained – and lost – throughout the years? What skills or advantages do you expect to grow in as you grow older?

5. On page 106, Anderson remarks, "There is no lost future. The life I might have lived is beginning to take hold." Is there a future that you believed you lost that you could move towards?

6. As Anderson watches a young couple’s wedding, she feels a mixture of nostalgia and skepticism about her own vows. Through the years, how have your own views of marriage and partnership changed?

7. How do you anticipate that your later years will be different from those of your parents or grandparents?

8. Do you believe that a person’s sense of her age, or even her outlook or behavior, can affect the length and quality of life? Can we live longer and "younger" by keeping mentally and physically active?

9. What is the best advice a friend has ever given you? What do you think is the best advice you can give based on your experience?

About this Author

Joan Anderson is the author of the bestsellers A Year by the Sea and An Unfinished Marriage. She has also written numerous children’s novels, including 1787, The First Thanksgiving Feast, and The American Family Farm, as well as a critically acclaimed adult nonfiction book Breaking the TV Habit (Scribner). A Walk on the Beach is her third work of narrative nonfiction. A graduate of Yale University School of Drama, Anderson lives with her husband on Cape Cod.

From the Hardcover edition.
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