8. Homan does not have a mental disability, yet he gets stuck in an institution for those who do. When he's out in the world, people often shout at him, as if that will help him understand or even hear them. Discuss an interaction you've observed between a person with a disability and someone he didn't know, when incorrect assumptions made real understanding impossible.

9. Homan realizes in the faith-healing scene that he isn't so sure he wants to be "fixed." Why does he have so little interest? Sam also does not pursue healing, and the subject of being healed never even comes up for Lynnie. What do you think Rachel Simon is saying by showing her characters' indifference to being "fixed"?

10. What do you think happens between Sam and Strawberry that leads him to cry and then lose interest in the freewheeling life he and Homan have been living? Why do you think the man in the house at the top of the long front steps closes the door in Homan's face?

11. When Julia is a baby in the stoller, Martha thinks about the history of words like pajamas. Later, when Julia is nearing school age, she collects twigs that she uses to spell words. How do these references to language foreshadow what happens when Julia is a teenager?

12. Do you think Julia's lack of knowledge about her parents plays a part in her emotional development as a teenager and an adult? Was it right for Martha not to tell her the truth?

13. How does art create links between the characters throughout the book, and what role does it play in the final chapter?

14. In the Author's Note at the end of the book, readers learn that the character of Homan is based on a real person. How does this knowledge affect your experience of the book?


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