This reading group guide for The Year We Left Home includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Jean Thompson. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.Introduction
Beginning in a small town in Iowa in 1973, The Year We Left Home
follows one extended family through marriages, divorces, tragedy, and everyday life over a span of thirty years. Told from the perspectives of different characters across multiple generations, it provides a stirring, insightful look at how one family redefines happiness and relationships over the course of their lives. Topics & Questions for Discussion
1. Early on in the novel, Ryan muses “what really counted was the life you made for yourself, and the person you decided to be.” (p. 11) Does this prove to be true? How does this play out in his life, and in the lives of his family members? How does this concept change for him?
2. “Something in him always stood apart, and he was not who people assumed was.” (p. 27) How is this true for Ryan throughout the novel? How do the characters define themselves, and each other?
3. Which narrator did you like best: Anita, Ryan, Chip, Torrie, Audrey, M