Summer Sale! Save 20% today and get access to all our member benefits.

Reading guide for Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Read-Alikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Three Things About Elsie

by Joanna Cannon

Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon X
Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Aug 2018, 384 pages

    Paperback:
    Jul 2019, 384 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Sarah Tomp
Buy This Book

About this Book

Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide will contain spoilers!

  1. Why do you think author Joanna Cannon decided to set the novel in a nursing home?
  2. On page 63, Florence says, "I needed someone to hold my worrying for me." How does Elsie play this role for her?
  3. The act of naming and renaming things is a recurring theme in the novel. Why do you think this is significant?
  4. Did Florence's failing memory change your understanding of events at Cherry Tree? Does it make her a less reliable narrator? Why or why not?
  5. "Simon wondered where his life ended and their life began, and how we could all be stitched so tightly together, yet the threads between everybody still go unnoticed" (page 124). How does this idea of the bonds between humanity play out throughout the novel?
  6. "'You've got to find forgiveness, Florence,' said Elsie. 'You find it so easily in other people, why do you struggle so much to find it in yourself?'" (page 334). Why do you think Florence struggles to forgive herself for the past?
  7. Consider the role of time in novel, especially Florence's idea of a "long second"—when time seems to hesitate just long enough to give you a chance to make the right decision. Have you experienced any "long seconds" in your life?
  8. Florence and Simon both repeat throughout the novel that they have lived very ordinary lives. Do you think this is the case? How do you think ordinary versus extraordinary is measured?
  9. "Sometimes, a name is the only thing we can leave behind," Florence says on page 103. Do you think this is true? What else do you think Florence will leave behind?
  10. Did the third thing about Elsie come as a surprise to you? Why or why not?
  11. What do you think makes Florence ultimately realize that she has lived an extraordinary life, in the end?

  12. Enhance Your Book Club

    1. Take turns using three things to describe the members of your book club the way Florence describes Elsie.
    2. Read Joanna Cannon's first novel, The Trouble with Goats and Sheep. Do you notice any recurring themes between the two books?


    3. Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Scribner. 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 $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  Cozy Mysteries

Support BookBrowse

Join our inner reading circle, go ad-free and get way more!

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: The Ballad of Jacquotte Delahaye
    The Ballad of Jacquotte Delahaye
    by Briony Cameron
    Our titular heroine's story begins in Yáquimo, Santo Domingo. Jacquotte Delahaye is a young ...
  • Book Jacket: Another Word for Love
    Another Word for Love
    by Carvell Wallace
    "I write about beautiful things because I live in a country that has tried to kill me and every...
  • Book Jacket
    The Flower Sisters
    by Michelle Collins Anderson
    Michelle Collins Anderson's novel The Flower Sisters, based in part on a real tragedy that occurred ...
  • Book Jacket: Craft
    Craft
    by Ananda Lima
    You may have heard about books that are letters to God, but what about books that are letters to the...

BookBrowse Book Club

Book Jacket
The 1619 Project
by Nikole Hannah-Jones
An impactful expansion of groundbreaking journalism, The 1619 Project offers a revealing vision of America's past and present.
Win This Book
Win The Bluestockings

The Bluestockings by Susannah Gibson

An illuminating group portrait of the eighteenth-century women who dared to imagine an active life for themselves in both mind and spirit.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

A W in S C

and be entered to win..

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.