BKMT READING GUIDES

Stories That Bind Us
by Finkbeiner

Published: 2020-06-02T00:0
Paperback : 384 pages
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Betty Sweet is still recovering from the loss of her husband when she becomes the temporary guardian of a five-year-old nephew she never knew she had. As they struggle to move forward, they build a relationship upon the foundation of storytelling and its special kind of ...
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Introduction

Betty Sweet is still recovering from the loss of her husband when she becomes the temporary guardian of a five-year-old nephew she never knew she had. As they struggle to move forward, they build a relationship upon the foundation of storytelling and its special kind of magic.

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Discussion Questions

1. How are Betty’s memories used in the novel to move the story along?

2. Can you share a story from your own life that impacts who you are, what you believe, the things you do?

3. How do the stories Betty shares with Hugo draw them closer?

4. What’s a story you heard or read when you were a child that worked to calm you, cheer you up, give you courage? How does this strengthen your belief that story is important?

5. This novel deals with profound emotional pain (the loss of a spouse, a loved one’s struggle with mental illness, a child’s fear for a parent). How did Betty’s stories help Hugo and Clara live through those painful episodes? How important was it for Betty not to shy away from the suffering while she told her stories?

6. Susie Finkbeiner believes that this is, more than anything else, a love story. What are the threads of love story that you find throughout the novel?

7. Toward the end of the novel we experience the assassination of President Kennedy along with Betty and her family. What’s a catastrophic event that happened in your life? The kind of thing that you’ll always remember where you were when … ? How did that moment shape your story?

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