We first meet Laurie in 2008 when she’s fresh out of college and working a disappointing job at a hotel where in reality, she wants to be a journalist. She’s boarding a bus during the holiday season when she looks at the window and sees a man she instantly knows is the one. Their eyes meet and then the bus pulls away. Laurie spends a year scanning every bus stop and cafe in London for him. Instead they “reunite” at a Christmas party, when her best friend Sarah introduces her new boyfriend to Laurie. It’s Jack, the man from the bus. What follows for Laurie, Sarah and Jack is ten years of friendship, heartbreak, missed opportunities, roads not taken and destinies reconsidered.
Let’s get into the book club questions.
- Both Laurie and Jack seem to believe in love at first sight. Do you believe in it? Why or why not?
- Why do you think Laurie couldn’t bring herself to tell Sarah that Jack was the man from the bus? What would you have done if you were Laurie?
- Despite trying to keep their distance, Laurie and Jack couldn’t deny their mutual attraction for each other. And also, Sarah pushes for the two of them to become friends. When did it become apparent that it wasn’t just mutual physical attraction but emotional, too?
- Dissatisfied with her job and feeling guilty for kissing jack, Laurie decides to leave it all behind and go to Thailand for a bit. Why was this the right choice for her? Would you have done something similar if you were in her situation?
- She meets Oscar in Thailand and while she can tell he comes from a different background and lifestyle from her, they still have an instant connection. But the Oscar of Thailand is different from that of the one in London, who is much more serious and put together. Why do you think people become a different version of themselves in vacation? Why do you think it’s hard to remain that way (the more relaxed version) once back in the real world?
- Do you think Laurie truly loved Oscar or was it more the comfort he provided?
- Why didn’t Jack and Sarah last? How did his accident change him?
- Right before Laurie and Oscar’s wedding, Laurie accidentally reveals that Jack is the bus guy. Sarah is extremely upset and refuses to attend Laurie’s wedding. Do you think her reaction was extreme since they had broken up? Or do you think her feelings of betrayal were warranted?
- With Sarah’s absence, Jack fills in to give the speech. How did his speech define his love for her? Were you surprised that Oscar didn’t try to talk to Laurie about it?
- Eventually Sarah and Laurie make up, why do you think Sarah decided to forgive her?
- Let’s talk about how much Laurie, Jack and Sarah changed from the beginning of the story until the end.
- At the end of the story, Laurie asks Jack what might have happened if he got on the bus. He says: “Boy sees girl. Girl sees boy. Boy gets on the bus, kisses girl’s face off, and they live happily ever after.” How do you think their love story would have played out differently if he got on the bus?
- Did you have any doubts there would be a happy ending? Did you like the ending? What’s next for those two love birds?