Kick Start

Book Club Discussion Questions

1. At the beginning of the book, Linda is stuck in the rut of her old, pre-divorce life. Though she knows things must change, she takes no action until her friend Connie challenges her. Do you think Linda would have moved on with her life of her own accord? Why or why not? 2. What are some factors in Linda’s life that might have prevented her from making changes after her divorce? If you were faced with a major life change, what might prevent you from altering your own lifestyle? 3. Linda perceives herself as an outsider and has spent all her years in Cross Springs trying to fit in. She seems to value the opinions of friends and acquaintances more than she values her own views—even her opinion of herself. How often do we, as women, allow the opinions of others to color our own opinions or our actions? 4. Divorce changes our relationships with all the people in our lives. We see that many of Linda’s friends felt they must “choose sides” after she and her husband divorced. Have you ever experienced a scenario where your own friends felt the need to take sides? Is there a way to preserve relationships so that others do not feel the need to do this? 5. Linda herself has an issue with the age difference between her and Jack. Jack is much more accepting of their age difference and is bothered that Linda gives it so much weight. Why do you think Linda buys into the stigma society attaches to their age difference? Why do you think society has trouble accepting older woman/younger man pairings? 6. The events of Linda’s life are definitely the topic of gossip among some people in Cross Springs. The fear of being talked about adds stress to every part of Linda’s life and hinders progress in her relationship with Jack. Have you ever been the subject of gossip? Discuss a time when you were tempted to gossip about someone else or their situation. How do think gossip affects our relationships with other women? 7. Linda believes her friends and others in the community are judgmental of her situation and her actions. Do you think they are judging her as much as she thinks or, like Connie, do you believe Linda might be exaggerating the reactions of those around her? Can you think of a time when you have misunderstood the motivations or actions of others? 8. Linda’s identity is very invested in her roles as a wife and mother. Often, a major life change such as divorce or widowhood can result in a real identity crisis for a woman. How much of Linda’s fear and indecision might be a result of such an identity crisis? How can we preserve our individuality and identity as we move through life so we don’t lose touch with our true selves? 9. Linda eventually realizes how much she has buried her own desires, interests and even aspects of her personality in order to be the sort of wife and mother she thought she should be. Why do you think she had this epiphany after visiting with her family of origin? Have you ever had such a realization? If so, did it lead to changes in your life? 10. Linda decides that after she finishes her course at the community college she will move her family to Knoxville to start her new career and a new life. The move will resolve some of the stress she feels about her life decisions by removing the scrutiny she perceives in Cross Springs. Do you think Linda’s decision is a cop-out or a necessary step? Have you faced a situation like Linda’s where you felt your best choice was to leave your old life behind? If not, do you think you would ever make such a decision?  


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