Reading guide for Beauty in the Broken Places by Allison Pataki

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Beauty in the Broken Places

A Memoir of Love, Faith, and Resilience

by Allison Pataki

Beauty in the Broken Places by Allison Pataki X
Beauty in the Broken Places by Allison Pataki
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    May 2018, 272 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2019, 272 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Rebecca Foster
Buy This Book

About this Book

Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide will contain spoilers!

  1. The title of this book, Beauty in the Broken Places, speaks to brokenness and pain, but also to the beauty that can be found in places of suffering and hardship. It is inspired by the Ernest Hemingway quotation that is the book's epigraph: "The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places." Discuss this quotation and examine how both these elements—beauty and brokenness—are at play in this story.
  2. Allison speaks extensively about her support system and how she had to learn to rely on family and friends in a way she never had before. Discuss the importance of "the tribe" in getting through life's hardships. Which figures in this story struck you as particularly poignant figures of grace and love?
  3. Lee Woodruff welcomes Allison to "the Club of the Bad Thing." Allison responds that it was "a club I wanted no part of." Discuss moments in your life when you felt as though you had suddenly been pulled into "the Club of the Bad Thing." How did you get through those times?
  4. Allison writes at the end of the book: "Our marriage looks different today than it did a year ago, but isn't that the case for any marriage? Isn't marriage a dynamic thing in which two people are constantly growing and learning and evolving—and isn't the key to honor and cherish and nurture your love for your partner even as you grow and learn and evolve? Even through the process of regrowing a brain and fixing a hole in one's heart?" Discuss the shifting nature of marriage and other long-term relationships. What is the hardest thing about a long-term relationship? What is the key to making these relationships work?
  5. Interspersed throughout the memoir are flashbacks of the early days of Allison's and Dave's relationship. What purpose did these scenes serve?
  6. Allison and Dave speak about the medical causes of this highly unlikely stroke. Did you find yourself interested in the medical details, or were you more drawn to the personal details of their family and their relationship?
  7. This project was born originally out of letters. What did you think of the "Dear Dave" letters that Allison included?
  8. In Chapter 15, Allison, who identifies as a Christian, and Omar, who identifies as a Muslim, speak about faith and how their respective beliefs and values impact how they treat others, as well as how they navigate life's ups and downs. What role, if any, does faith have in your life? How does your faith appear similar to or different from that of the author's?
  9. Allison and Dave both speak at the end of this book about the importance of gratitude, and how the stroke has changed their outlook on the importance of daily gratitude and on not ever taking life for granted. What did you think of this? Do you agree that gratitude is important? What other life lessons might be gleaned from an event as disruptive as this stroke?
  10. Allison admits that she was uncomfortable with being in the position of "taker." She preferred to be the one giving help, as opposed to receiving it. She realized that this came, in part, from a need to feel like she was in control and invincible, and that this "illusion" of control was shattered only after Dave's stroke. Discuss how this might be relevant in your own life. Do you tend to feel like you are in control in your life? Or is control an illusion?
  11. When you are going through particularly difficult moments in life, what sort of support do you find to be the most helpful and needed? How do you offer support to those in your life when they need it?
  12. What memories would you be most heartbroken to lose? What memories would be the most devastating for you to see your loved ones lose?


Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Random House. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  Types of Stroke

Join BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Find out more


Today's Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: How the Word Is Passed
    How the Word Is Passed
    by Clint Smith
    With legislatures around the U.S. rushing to ban the teaching of critical race theory, it's clear ...
  • Book Jacket: Big Vape
    Big Vape
    by Jamie Ducharme
    In Big Vape, TIME reporter Jamie Ducharme studies the short but inflammatory history of Juul. Her ...
  • Book Jacket: Love and Fury
    Love and Fury
    by Samantha Silva
    Mary Wollstonecraft is best known for being an early advocate for women's rights and the mother of ...
  • Book Jacket: Walking on Cowrie Shells
    Walking on Cowrie Shells
    by Nana Nkweti
    The stories in Nana Nkweti's dexterous debut collection examine the raw alienation of being ...

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
The War Nurse
by Tracey Enerson Wood
A sweeping novel by an international bestselling author based on a true World War I story.

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Temple House Vanishing
    by Rachel Donohue

    A modern gothic page-turner set in a Victorian mansion in Ireland.

  • Book Jacket

    Lady Sunshine
    by Amy Mason Doan

    One iconic family. One summer of secrets. The dazzling spirit of 1970s California.

Win This Book!
Win Gordo

Gordo by Jaime Cortez

"Dark and hilarious ... singular and soaring ... Hands down, top debut of 2021."—Literary Hub

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

N Say N

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.