Reading guide for The True and Outstanding Adventures of The Hunt Sisters by Elisabeth Robinson

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The True and Outstanding Adventures of The Hunt Sisters

by Elisabeth Robinson

The True and Outstanding Adventures of The Hunt Sisters
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  • First Published:
    Jan 2004, 336 pages
    Jan 2005, 352 pages

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Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!

  1. The Hunt sisters, Olivia and Maddie, are very different from each other. As you were reading, did you like one of the sisters better than the other? Which of the Hunt sisters do you most identify with? How would you describe the relationship between the sisters? Are Olivia and Maddie like any sisters you know?

  2. The story is told entirely in letters, all of them written by one character. What did you enjoy about this form? How well did you get to know all the novel's characters? Which letters are your favorites? In which do you think Olivia is most revealing? most truthful?

  3. The epigraph suggests that hope is a kind of happiness. Do you think that's true? Does Olivia believe that? How does her attitude about hope change? What about Maddie's? Do you consider hope a delusion? Or a choice?

  4. Why does Olivia start writing to her ex-boyfriend Michael? Does she get what she wants—or what she needs? Do you think Michael and Olivia belong together?

  5. Are there parallels between the themes in Don Quixote and in this novel? Don Quixote's idealism ultimately inspires his cynical friend Sancho. Is Maddie or Olivia most like Don Quixote? Does that change at different points in the novel?

  6. At various times, Olivia is forced to make sacrifices for work, love, and family. Which is most important to her in the beginning . . . and at the end? Which story line did you find most compelling?

  7. There are four couples in the book. Which couple's relationship did you understand best? Is any of them similar to a relationship you've been in? What does Olivia learn about relationships by observing other couples?

  8. Would you want the job of a Hollywood producer? What do you find interesting or appealing about the job? Do you think Olivia will continue to produce movies?

  9. Did you like having real celebrities interact with the novel's fictional characters?

  10. What do you think of the portrayal of doctors in the novel? Olivia writes some angry letters to doctors. Was she right—or just upset? Have you ever written that kind of letter?

  11. Maddie's struggle with leukemia brings Olivia (and Maddie) face to face with questions of faith. What does faith mean to Olivia? How do her beliefs differ from Maddie's? Do they change in the course of the novel? Does Olivia reach any conclusions about God? How did your own ideas about faith influence your reactions to Olivia's and Maddie's questions?

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

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