Are you a member of a book club? The questions below are meant to enhance your discussion. Warning: SPOILERS follow. If your book club is interested in chatting with Allison about the book, either via phone or Skype, please send her an email

  1. The book opens with a playlist, The Best of Nell Slattery. What songs have profound meaning in your life?

  2. Each member of Nell’s family has his or her own agenda in helping Nell “re-create” her past. Do you sympathize with any of their motives?

  3. Nell’s amnesia gives her the opportunity to reassess her life and start over. Imagine yourself in Nell’s shoes: would you rather have a blank slate or know the truth about your past?

  4. We accompany Nell from her first confused moment, when she wakes up in the hospital, to when she discovers big secrets about her family history. How do your feelings and perceptions of Nell change as she uncovers new facts about herself and as her personality is revealed? How does the author’s willingness to show Nell in both good and bad light create a more vivid portrait of her character?

  5. Nell’s father named her after the character in “Eleanor Rigby,” and she struggles with the notion that her life is destined to follow the same lonely path detailed in the famous song. Have you ever worried that a label placed on you by another could similarly control your destiny?

  6. Nell tries to use her memory loss to her advantage, to reinvent herself and her relationships with the people closest to her.  To what extent are these reinventions successful?  What obstacles does Nell face when attempting to make these changes?

  7. Throughout the course of the novel, Nell makes some decisions based on what she (thinks she) knows and some decisions based on gut feelings.  Which is more successful for her: knowledge or instinct?  Which do you find more reliable in your life? 

  8. Most of Nell’s memories are triggered by music.  Are there any sounds, tastes, scents, or sensations that remind you of specific memories?

  9. Nell decides not to reconnect with her father after coming to terms with his absence. Do you agree with her decision to bury “old ghosts”? What would you do if it were your decision? Why do you think the author allowed us to draw our own conclusions about Nell’s father’s silence, and how does that choice affect our reading experience?