Reading Guide Questions
Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
This discussion guide will assist readers in exploring A Blind Man Can See How Much I Love You
. Hopefully, it will help create a bond not only between the book and the reader, but also between the members of the reading group. In your support of this book, please feel free to copy and distribute this guide to best facilitate your reading program. Thank you.
About This Book
"Amy Bloom gets more meaning into individual sentences than most authors manage in whole books."
--The New Yorker
A great short story has the emotional depth and intensity of a poem and the wholeness and breadth of a novel. Amy Bloom writes great short stories. Her first collection, Come to Me
, was a finalist for the National Book Award, and here she deepens and extends her mastery of the form.
Real people inhabit these pages, the people we know and are, the people we long to be and are afraid to be: a mother and her brave, smart little girl, each coming to terms with the looming knowledge that the little girl will become a man; a wildly unreliable narrator bent on convincing us that her stories are not harmless; a woman with breast cancer, a frightened husband, and a best friend, all discovering that their lifelong triangle is not what they imagined; a man and his stepmother engaged in a complicated dance of memory, anger, and forgiveness. Amy Bloom takes us straight to the center of these lives with rare generosity and sublime wit, in flawless prose that is by turns sensuous, spare, heartbreaking, and laugh-out-loud funny.
These are transcendent stories: about the uncertain gestures of love, about the betrayals and gifts of the body, about the surprises and bounties of the heart, and about what comes to us unbidden and what we choose.
- In A Blind Man Can See How Much I Love You, there are many different portraits of family. How do think Amy Bloom would define a family? How do her characters act like traditional families, and how do they differ? How do you define a family, and do you think Bloom's families would fall under your definition? Why or why not? In "Hold Tight", how is a new family made?
- Bloom's work has been praised for the way in which it portrays ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. Do you think this is correct, or should it be the other way around, extraordinary people in ordinary circumstances? Do these characters seem to be the people you come across in your life on a day to day basis? Why do you think Bloom would choose to make these people seem so everyday, so ordinary?
- Many of the characters in these stories are at critical moments in their lives where their impending actions will have a profound effect on the way in which the world perceives them, how they perceive themselves, and how other characters in the novel will choose to see them. What are some of these moments? What actions in life change our being? What internal moments change us? Which have a more profound effect in Bloom's novel in constructing identity? Which do you think should in life?
- How does Bloom define love in her stories? How does she portray the love between a parent and a child, between friends, between lovers, between spouses? How do these types of love differ, and what do they have in common? Is love always forever? If not, why and when does it end?
- In A Blind Man Can See How Much I Love You, who seems to change more, Jane or Jessie? What types of changes occur in the story, both externally and internally. Which sorts of changes have an effect on the identity of the individual? How do you think their relationship will change as Jess begins to lead life as a man? To what extent does sexuality define a person? To what extent do external features make up ones identity, like a name, what one wears? Is identity an external or internal quality, or is it both? What do you think the significance the title
A Blind Man Can See How Much I Love You is?
Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Vintage.
Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.