Just Friends – Questions for Book Clubs and Groups

  1. Just FriendsBreast cancer is a frightening diagnosis. Who do you know who has received such a diagnosis? What was her reaction to such news?
  2. Sally attempts to play ostrich (putting her head in the sand) when she discovers her lump. Why do you suppose she does so?
  3. Paul has his own demons to fight, not least of which is what he suffered in Afghanistan. Do you agree that he suffers from survivor guilt? What tells you that?
  4. What about Sally’s previous boyfriends informs how she reacts to Paul’s advances?
  5. What pushes Sally to ask Paul to make love to her? How is this different from a simple“hook up?”
  6. In what way(s) is Sally’s leave-taking to Minnesota an escape? How would you describe Sally’s experience with chemo, surgery and radiation? How similar or different is it from the experiences of women you know? Or perhaps yourself?
  7. What does Sally’s reaching out to Paul to encourage him to get the surgery to save his leg tell you about her?
  8. Paul finally has surgery on his leg, but only after resisting it. What does his relationship with Olivia and his brother, Beau, tell you about Paul?
  9. Why does Paul invite Julie for dinner, but not make love to her?
  10. Sally is one of the younger breast cancer survivors. But she opts not to save her eggs or have breast reconstruction. What about her sense of self prevents her from doing so? Had you been an advisor, would you have encouraged her to do so? Why or why not?
  11. When Sally returns home and Paul insists on showing her his scar, what is he trying to tell Sally?
  12. Can you imagine how Sally must have felt when Paul insists in seeing her scar? Describe it. How would you feel under the same circumstances? Why is this a turning point in the story?
  13. What does the sudden appearance of Irene reveal about Paul?
  14. When Olivia suspects Sally is pregnant, she insists that Beau talk to Paul. What do these scenes tell you about the women’s relationship? Paul’s relationship with his big brother?
  15. How would you react if the man you loved, but thought you might have lost, wrote you a letter like Paul’s to Sally?
  16. How does Sally show her love of children when she goes to the school to interview the kids on the safety patrol?
  17. In what way(s) was the loss of Sally’s baby necessary to the story?
  18. Is the Epilogue something you would have included? Why or why not?

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