Book Group Questions:
Spoiler Alert: These are intended for discussion after reading The Apple of My Eye, as there are a number of plot twists that are revealed within the questions themselves.
1. How does the author symbolically use breathing throughout the novel? What about light versus dark?
2. In the book, Brea thinks, “… even though Amy taught me to find my voice, it was Paul who made me feel like I had something to say.” How do people around you help you or discourage you from feeling worthwhile? How can one’s own self-confidence affect this? (pg. 46)
3. Brea uses an escalator to explain her feelings with, “I had to keep moving to stay in the same place, only I never got anywhere.” Do you ever experience times like this? What do you do to get off the escalator? (pg. 65)
4. Brea comments that she knows she would see the blood stain where her husband was shot, even if it wasn’t there anymore. How do past experiences haunt our future and our ability to move forward? (pg. 67)
5. When Brea takes Noah to the playground, she notices another mom wearing a wedding ring, but thinks, “then again, so [am] I.” How do we deceive, purposely or not, with our outward appearance? How quickly do we judge ourselves against others’ outside appearances? (pg. 69)
6. After learning something was not right with her husband’s death, Brea notes, “I felt more alive than I had been since that horrible night. I also felt more dead than I thought possible.” How is this contradiction possible? (pg. 71)
7. Because Brea is so honest, she assumes others are honest. Is it safe to trust others? Does it make you naïve? (pg. 77)
8. Compare the way the main characters approach truth-telling. (Brea, Paul, Professor Haynesworth, Amy and Martha)
9. Have you ever felt like Brea, that “sometimes there just are no words?” (pg. 87)
10. Brea notes, “It felt like Paul kept dying over and over again, and each time was worse than the last.” Is there a point where those deaths are “undone” and Paul gains new life? (pg. 151)
11. When Brea decides to talk to the police, she muses, “I had just committed myself to a course of action. It was the right course, but that didn’t mean it would be an easy one.” What choices in your life have been like this one? (pg. 166)
12. Martha grows shorter with time, but her voice compensates, as does her forthright nature. How does old age change people or does it? (pgs. 56 and 173)
13. Why did Paul feel it necessary to lie? What would you have done in his situation?
14. How do Paul’s actions to save others affect your opinion of him? (pg. 195)
15. How does seeing and then imagining the flowers in the dark help Brea finally forgive Paul? (pg. 211)
16. How does the ending make you believe that Paul did love his family – all of them?