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These Fragile Things – Suggested Questions for Book Clubs

In response to a request, I have collated some suggested questions for book clubs.

This novel is all about family dynamics. Even before Judy’s accident, These Fragile Things book considers the pressures on nuclear families.

  • How does Graham’s image of himself as a father, which bore a striking resemblance to his own father as a middle-aged man, affect his approach to fatherhood?
  • How far do you agree with the statement that two against one is the natural equation?
  • What impact does Judy’s fear of imperfection as an only child have on her behaviour?   
  • How did Judy’s accident alter the dynamics of the Jones family?
  • Which character do you think best fits the description of ‘the rope in an unending tug of war?’
  • To what extent do you agree with Elaine’s statement to Judy, ‘We’re all in it together.’  

In this book, Jane re-visits the theme of missing persons and the sense that the hole they leave behind can be greater than the space they took up in life. In this case, the missing person was an unborn child. How, if anything, do you think her miscarriage affected her approach to motherhood?

Graham starts out as a stickler for rules. In what ways does he break his own rule, ‘Parents who aren’t unified in their thinking can’t be relied on for proper guidance’? 

To what extent do you think Graham’s decision to believe was a choice?

What advantage did Elaine feel being present at the scene of Judy’s accident, if only in its aftermath, give her over Graham?

What was the impact of Judy’s request to keep her scars hidden from her father?  

To Elaine, her daughter’s scars came to represent the price of having her back in one piece. What did they come to represent to Judy?    

Judy isn’t the only member of the family to experience visions. What forms do Elaine’s visions take?

In whcih various ways does Elaine come to feel trapped?

Do you feel that Father Patrick’s concern that he might have been culpable for encouraging Judy when she was clearly vulnerable was valid?

To what extent does Graham’s faith come to feel like a burden?

How important is Miranda’s role in the novel?

Which character – including the supporting cast – did you feel the most sympathetic towards?  

Which things did it transpire were the most fragile of all?

Please feel free to post your own suggestions!

Return to the home page to purchase. Jane is happy to consider requests to attend book club meetings.