Reading Guide Questions
Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
- What do you imagine the relationship between Connor and Jack was
like when both of their parents were alive? What about when only
their mother was alive?
- What does this title mean? What
"accidents" happen, and do you agree that they are accidents? Or
are Jack and Connor fully in control of their destinies
regardless of their pasts?
- Where do you think the climax of the novel occurs and why?
Do Jack and Connor ever reach any understandings about each
other? If so, what might some of those understandings be?
- What motivates Jack's and Connor's infidelities? Are those
motivations the same or different?
- What effect does the irregular passage of time between
chapters have on the plot? Why did the author write it this way
instead of in a straightforward, linear way? Similarly, what
effect do the multiple narrators have on the movement of the
- Jack and Connor view themselves as very different people,
but in what ways are they more similar than they think? In what
ways are they truly different?
- By the end of the novel, Jack and Connor have one son and
two daughters, respectively. In what ways does the next
generation of Reeds carry on the family traditions and the
characteristics of their parents?
- The author gives Mona, Laine, and Kathy the opportunity to
narrate chapters and give their perspectives. How do the
narrative, plot, and perspectives differ from Jack's and
Connor's when the women are given the narrative power?
- How do you think that Mona and Laine feel about each
other? About the other's marriage?
- What changes Jorie's perspective at the end of the novel?
Is it just fear or a genuine maturing? Can you speculate on what
happens in each of the other characters' lives after the last
page of the novel?
Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Broadway Books.
Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.