Below is a Reading Group Guide for Endings, a book that presents challenges for even the most forward thinking reading groups.
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Endings really began as a short story, and me thinking about what would have to happen in my life for me to kill someone for money.
Now understand: despite the kind of books I write, I fall in the pretty non-violent end of the spectrum. I really am someone who believes in loving more and spreading good energy and elevating my vibration. When I’m stressed, I take out my mat and spend some time doing yoga. I let people into my lane when I’m driving. I’m so chill behind the wheel it makes my NYC-born husband a little insane at times. He thinks we should get going. I just want everyone to get along. What I’m saying: for me to kill someone would take… well, so much. An unthinkable amount.
But… what if? (Isn’t that what all works of fiction are really about?)
What if I was faced with impossible tragedy? Would I consider taking another life? Would I need to be pushed against a wall? Would my life need to be in danger? In essence, who would I need to be to kill another human? I couldn’t imagine what it would take. And then I did imagine. And then I started to write.
Reading Group Guide
About this Guide (from the author):
In my mind, and having come out the other side, Endings is less about killing and more about living or, to put a very fine point on it, how we humans mostly continue wanting to live even against incredible odds. There is this amazing force that encourages many of us to continue to survive. Let’s call it hope. That’s what happens in Endings, I think. The odds of our protagonist’s survival are not always good. In essence, then, it is a story of one woman’s journey out of darkness. Her journey back into the light.
The questions in this guide are intended to provide a framework against which your group’s discussions of Endings can be laid.
This author is very accessible. If your group meets virtually, she is often available for book chats. On the same note, if your group would like to pose questions directly to the author prior to your event, she will be happy to answer.
In the meantime, here are a few questions to provide a framework.
1. Describe your first impressions of Endings’ narrating character. What was your first opinion of her? In what ways did those opinions change throughout the novel? How did they stay the same?
2. Prior to reading Endings, what did you know about contract killers? Was there any knowledge that illuminated your reading of the book?
3. At what point did you realize the narrating character was nameless? Did that realization enhance your reading or detract from it?
4. Did the narrating character in Endings remind you of any other fictional figures? If so, who and in what way?
5. Which characters in the book did you like best?
6. Which characters did you like least?
7. If you were making a movie of this book, who would you cast?
8. Share a favorite quote from Endings. Why did this quote stand out for you?
9. What other books by this author have you read? How did they compare to this book?
10. What feelings did this book evoke for you?
11. What did you think of the book’s length? If it’s too long, what would you cut? If too short, what would you add?
12. If you got the chance to ask the author one question, what would it be?
14. Which character in the book would you most like to meet?
15. What do you think of the title of the book? How does it relate to the book’s contents? What
other title might you choose?
16. What do you think of the book’s cover? How well does it convey what the book is about?
17. What do you think the author’s purpose was in writing this book? What ideas or themes was she trying to get across?
18. How original and unique was this book?
19. If you could hear this same story from another person’s point of view, who would you choose?
20. Did you learn anything from this book? If yes, what?