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Book club questions for How to Walk Away by Katherine Center takes a closer look at this emotional read. The following book club questions will have spoilers so if you haven’t read the novel yet, check out my preview and review first.
I read this novel in one day and I was sad to leave the characters behind. However, I felt that Center wrote a complete story. And I appreciate that she included the epilogue that took place several years in the future. I grew attached to Margaret and I’m glad to know she was okay in the end.
I’ve seen some reviews criticize the humor and the lightness it provides to an otherwise tragic story. As I mentioned, I liked the humor. That is a coping mechanism. For instance, toward the end, Margaret addresses finding joy in hardships:
[blockquote align=”none” author=””]”Because that’s all we can do: carry the sorrow when we have to, and absolutely save the joy when we can. Life is always, always both.” [/blockquote]
Margaret Jacobsen is just about to step into the bright future she’s worked for so hard and so long: a new dream job, a fiancé she adores, and the promise of a picture-perfect life just around the corner. Then, suddenly, on what should have been one of the happiest days of her life, everything she worked for is taken away in a brief, tumultuous moment.
In the hospital and forced to face the possibility that nothing will ever be the same again, Maggie must confront the unthinkable. First there is her fiancé, Chip, who wallows in self-pity while simultaneously expecting to be forgiven. Then, there’s her sister Kit, who shows up after pulling a three-year vanishing act. Finally, there’s Ian, her physical therapist, the one the nurses said was too tough for her. Ian, who won’t let her give in to her pity, and who sees her like no one has seen her before. Sometimes the last thing you want is the one thing you need. Sometimes we all need someone to catch us when we fall. And sometimes love can find us in the least likely place we would ever expect.
How to Walk Away is Katherine Center at her very best―a masterpiece of a novel that is both hopeful and hilarious; truthful and wise; tender and brave.
Book Club Questions for How to Walk Away
- The story is told in first-person past narrative and in some areas, Center gives a hint of what’s to come. Do you like this kind of narrative? Why or why not?
- There are vivid descriptions from the plane crash to her injuries to the hospital setting. How do those descriptions help paint the setting for this story?
- Were you surprise that Chip just abandoned her? Is he because he felt guilty or is he just a jerk?
- What did you think about the humor in the novel? Do you think there was a right balance of humor and serious tones?
- What was your first impression of Ian? Did it change at all at the end of the story?
- When Margaret confesses her feelings for Ian, he dismisses it that she’s mistaking comfort for love. What are your thoughts about that? Was it lust in the beginning and then it became love? Or was it love the entire time?
- Margaret and her sister Kit have an interesting dynamic. What did you think about their relationship?
- While Margaret is going through hell with her injuries, we find out her mom has kept secrets from the family. Did you like the focus on her family or did you think it took away from the story?
- Margaret believes she’ll walk again eventually. But when it becomes apparent it might never happen, she goes to a dark place. What was the key moment that lifted Margaret from her fog?
- When Margaret and her family go to Belgium, we know she’ll see Ian again. But are you surprised in how he comes back to her life?
- We flash forward to the future, and Margaret and Ian are married with children. We sadly find out Margaret’s dad passed away from cancer. Let’s talk about what we thought about the epilogue.
- A key theme in the novel is the great line: there are all kinds of happy endings. First, what does that mean in the context of this novel? And what does that mean personally to you?
- What does the title How to Walk Away represent?
Next on my TBR (to be read) list
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