September 30, 2013
2:30 – 4:00 p.m.
1. Trust is a recurring theme in Lisa Grunwald’s novel. Which characters are most deeply affected by its presence or absence? What makes us trust another person, and what happens if that trust is betrayed? Can a relationship recover after trust has been broken?
For Martha Gaines, “there was no future for
her without Henry. There was only her tiny
world, bordered by practice walls and
practice floors.” (p. 113) Why does Martha
become so attached to Henry, and how would
you describe their relationship?
Is it possible to love a person too much?
Have you ever felt smothered by love? Is
there a secret to building a relationship
where both people feel equally loved?
According to Martha, “a child was something
to manage, not to be managed by.” (p. 44).
Do you agree with her ideas on raising
children? Describe and compare the different
child-rearing approaches that are explored in
this story. Are they all outdated now, or do
any of them still hold weight?
How does Henry’s early experience—being
tended by a number of devoted practice
mothers—affect his personality as he grows
up? What is the downside to his unusual
upbringing? What are the benefits?
As a child, Henry covers the walls of his
closet with his own drawings, so that the
closet becomes “a place of deep colors,
vast distances, and great possibilities.”
(p. 141) How is Henry’s life shaped by his
artistic gifts? In what ways do these gifts
fall short? How are these shortcomings
reflected in his relationships with women?
“Henry’s silence gave him a refuge, an
excuse not to participate, but it was also a
weapon for keeping Martha at bay.” (p. 145)
What brings on Henry’s silent period and
what pulls him out of it? Why is silence such
a powerful weapon? What other psychological
weapons do we use against those closest to
Why is Henry drawn to Charles and Karen at
At Martha’s funeral service, what does
Henry discover as he describes her
accomplishments? Do you think his epiphany is
a momentary vision or a permanent change of
heart? Is there anything truly redeeming
What makes Henry choose Peace Jacobs, after
so many girls and women have pursued him in