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The Intermission Reader’s Guide

By Elyssa Friedland

The Intermission by Elyssa Friedland


Questions for Discussion

   1. How important is honesty in a marriage? Do you think small lies of omission are permissible in a happy marriage?
   2. Do you think it is ever a good idea for a marriage to have an intermission period, and if so, under what circumstances?
   3. Were you ever upset with Cass for how she treated Jonathan, or did you sympathize with her given her tough childhood and the prickly defense mechanisms she wears as armor?
   4. Jonathan is initially shocked when Cass asks for the separation, but then he comes around quickly. Do you think he agreed that they needed time apart, or did he acquiesce because he didn’t want to upset Cass?
   5. Cass and Jonathan’s marriage has problems at both the macro and micro level. Which partner do you think was more responsible for their daily frustrations with each other? Or was it all intertwined?
   6. Who had the bigger secrets: Jonathan or Cass?
   7. Why do you think Jonathan feels tormented about what happened in high school with Daniel?
   8. How do you think Jonathan would have reacted to finding out that Cass had “stalked” him if she’d just told him in the beginning of their relationship?
   9. What did Cass see in Marty? Do you think she was attracted to the power of his position or just looking for a total escape from Jonathan?
   10. What impact did the dissolution of Dahlia’s marriage have on Cass, or did it have any impact at all?
   11. What does Cass learn from living with Alexi?
   12. 12 Do you think Jonathan treated Brett unfairly? Or was it unreasonable of her to expect more since she knew she was getting involved with a married man?
   13. Did you feel that after the intermission Cass and Jonathan had a better understanding of each other and what makes their marriage work? Do you think they will be happier than they would have been without having taken an intermission?
   14. How do you think Cass’s and Jonathan’s childhoods and upbringings affected them in similar ways? In different ways? What bearing did their backgrounds have on their outlooks on marriage?
   15. Did you think Cass and Jonathan were going to divorce or get back together? Which outcome were you hoping for?
   16. What do you think the future holds for Cass and Jonathan? Now that they are reunited, do you expect them to stay together forever?
   17. What kind of parents do you think Cass and Jonathan will be?
   18. Cass and Jonathan both felt they couldn’t live apart from Puddles for very long. Have you ever shared custody of something (other than a child) after a breakup? How did it go?
   19. Can you think of a secret you’ve kept from your partner that has snowballed simply because you didn’t share it upfront?
   20. What do you think are the most important elements for a successful marriage?
   21. What does a successful marriage look like to you? What does it look like for Cass and Jonathan?
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