1. If Leonard had been born with good health and perfect vision, to what extent do you feel his life would have been different? Why?
2. Why do you think Pearl places such a value on cleanliness?
3. If you had been in Mitch’s position, and didn’t believe Leonard’s assertion that Pearl was still “with him,” would you want to help Leonard face the truth, or would you consider it kinder to allow him that delusion?
4. Do you think Leonard’s “forever love” is possible in a romantic involvement? Or do you feel that such a totally selfless love is reserved for parental situations or other, more “pure” devotion?
5. Because of the three separate character viewpoints, the reader learns of Pearl’s fate before Mitch and Leonard do. If you had not seen this through her eyes, what would you have believed?
6. What do you think Leonard is looking for in his scrapes with death?
7. Have you ever felt an ongoing emotional connection with a loved one after his or her death?
8. Mitch’s home environment was not ideally stable, but Leonard certainly didn’t lack love in Mitch’s care. Do you approve of Leonard’s adoption into a two-parent home?
9. Harry was cast in a fairly negative light through most of the book, as seen through Mitch’s eyes. Did you feel any empathy for him and his situation before Mitch did? Why or why not?
10. What do you think Barb means when she says of her long-standing relationship with Mitch, “Maybe it’s the stress that holds it together” [p. 167]?
11. Why do you think Mitch didn’t fight back against Harry in their final meeting? Do you agree with Barb that he didn’t feel entitled?
12. Leonard is in search of a last name and an identity through most of the book, but in Mitch’s dream, Pearl says, “Leonard knows who he is” [p. 212]. Do you agree with that statement?