1. The novel begins on September 11, 2001, a day in which history and Lucy’s life both change. Is there a day in your own life that you’ll never forget?
2. Lucy calls her love for Gabe “all-consuming and powerful” (p. 321). Was there a time in your life when you felt like this? Do you remember your own first love? How do you feel about that person now?
3. The novel explores how the choices we make can lead us to very different lifestyles. Do you think Lucy regrets any of her choices? Have you made a decision that has changed the course of your life drastically? If so, what was it? How do you feel about it now?
4. When talking to Lucy, Jay compares his explosive first relationship to the gummy bear experiment and his marriage to Vanessa to the Old Nassau experiment. He tells Lucy that “there are lots of ways to love people” (p. 80). Do you agree with Jay? Why or why not? Do you prefer one of these relationships in your own life?
5. Did you have a favorite man in the novel—Gabe or Darren? Who would you pick in the end?
6. Lucy and her friend Kate use the metaphor of fire to discuss the relationships in their lives—some are wildfires and some are hearth fires or bonfires (p. 138). Do you think the metaphor works? Is there one kind of relationship, or fire, that you wish you could find?
7. Lucy thinks, “There are so many moments that change a person’s world. Some are because of a decision that’s made. Others, I think, might be because of the universe, fate, God, a higher power, whatever you want to call it” (p. 291). How do you feel about Lucy’s approach to fate and free will? Do you believe in fate? Why or why not?
8. How is marriage portrayed in the novel? How did you feel when Gabe and Lucy reconnected? Were you surprised by Lucy’s reaction to Gabe?
9. Lucy is a loving mother, but she also balances a successful career in television, which Darren doesn’t always support. Were you frustrated with Darren’s priorities for Lucy, or were there times you agreed? How did you feel about Darren’s “paper doll” philosophy for finding a wife? How do you think this philosophy affected Lucy?
10. How did you feel about Gabe’s photography exhibit Light
? Were you surprised? How does Gabe’s art shape the way he lives? How does it shape the way Lucy lives?
11. What do you think about the way the novel ends?