THE BEGINNER'S GOODBYE

By Anne Tyler
Ballantine BooksJanuary 2013
www.randomhouse.com

Trade Paperback224 pages, $15.00, ISBN: 9780345533357
Subject: Intrigue / Personal Challenges / Relationships

  1. Aaron is handicapped on his right side as a result of a child- hood illness. Why do you think the author chose to give her main character such a handicap? Is it significant—a symbol or metaphor—or entirely coincidental? In her conversation with Robb Foreman Dew, Tyler comments that Aaron may be trying to hide his handicap and suggests there is a reason he does so. What do you think the reason is?
  2. Does the way that Aaron’s mother and sister treated him when he was growing up impact his character as an adult? Or explain why he might have married Dorothy?
  3. In Aaron’s recollections of initially meeting Dorothy and falling in love with her, he portrays himself as having been immediately besotted, though Dorothy herself seems less than scintillating. Is Aaron aware of this discrepancy?
  4. After Dorothy’s death, does Aaron fully grieve for her, or is he reluctant to accept what has happened?
  5. Why does Dorothy reappear so many months after her death? And why does she appear only to Aaron?
  6. Aaron states early in the book (pages 11–12) that he is an atheist. Does this (lack of ) belief shed any light on Dorothy’s appearances?
  7. Read "Beginner's Goodbye: Dealing with Loss,A Book Club Discussion" by Reading Group Choices' Neely Kennedy for discussible topics and themes!

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