Reading Questions for Long Drive Home
1. While driving home with his daughter, Sara, Glen Bauer engages in a showdown with a teenage driver, Juwan Howard, that results in tragedy. Do you think the accident is all Glen's fault? If not, how much of the blame rests with Juwan?
2. After being interrogated by and lying to the police, Glen also lies to his wife, Liz, about the accident: "I waited until we got to the restaurant to tell my version, basically the same story I'd told the police. Somehow, with Liz, it felt like even more of a lie." (p. 30) Why doesn't he tell her the truth? What are the ramifications?
3. Later, after Glen confesses more of the truth to Liz, she tells him, "[You] can't really say [the accident] was your fault. You might have been involved, but that's not the same. You were just minding your own business. He was the one breaking the law. He caused the accident." (p. 53) How do you feel about her argument?
4. After watching Tawana, Juwan's mother, break down at the site of the accident, Glen is consumed with guilt: "I remember feeling like it would serve me right if something terrible happened to my family too. To get what I'd given. That's what I would have wanted, I think, if I had been in her shoes." (p. 44) Do you think he's right, or would Tawana have shown more forgiveness than he imagines?
5. Glen and Liz decide to attend Juwan's funeral for very different reasons. What are they? Do you think either has an ulterior motive?
6. How do Glen's first impressions of Juwan differ from his later impressions? Do you think his attitude toward Juwan has anything to do with race?
7. "My run-in with the Suburban guy was no more a mere footnote to the accident than the accident itself was an isolated, out-of-the-blue event. On the contrary, it had been the culmination of that whole afternoon, in which A led to B led to C." (pp. 63-64) Do you find this line of reasoning convincing? How much do the events leading up to the accident contribute to the accident itself?