Book Club Kits
Any Bitter Thing
by Wood, Monica
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1. This novel is, in part, the story of a marriage. What do you see as the turning points in Drew and Lizzy's marriage? Do you think Lizzy and Drew are well matched?
2. Betta refers to a belief that one is sometimes closer to someone after death than before. What does she mean when she says this? Have you experienced this, in your own life? Father Mike was both a father, small "f," and a Father, capital "F." How well do you believe he fulfilled both these roles? How did one role enhance the other, or diminish the other?
3. Would you describe Lizzy as an emotionally guarded woman or emotionally generous?
4. What do you think is the essence of Lizzy's bond with Harry Griggs? Why does she turn to him instead of to her husband or friend? Is he more than just a stranger who will listen? Why did Lizzy defend Harry to his daughter, Elaine?
5. Is Vivienne a good woman or a bad woman? Do you blame her for her crime? Was her behavior in the aftermath merely an instinct for self-preservation, or more than that? Has she paid enough of a penance?
6. Is Mrs. Hanson a villain? What would you have done if you had seen what she saw?
7. What does Lizzy see in Andrea that makes her a favorite student? Do you think they are much alike?
8. When Father Mike refers to Lizzie's calloused hands as "the working girl's stigmata," how does this colorful phrase suggest several layers of pride? A similarly layered observation comes at the end, when Lizzy begins to see Father Mike's "latter-day self bleeding through the veneer of his present-day self, like a painting beneath a painting." Do you think Lizzy is beginning to heal in this moment, or is she merely connecting to a time when she felt the most safe and the most loved?
9. What will become of Lizzy and Mariette's friendship now that they understand the full truth of the people they loved? Is a shared childhood enough to sustain a friendship for life? Is there really such a thing as unconditional love?