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Discussion Questions for “The Ground Beneath Us”:
1. Do you think Holly and John portray a typical marriage? Why or why not? What are Holly’s strengths and weaknesses and what are John’s?
2. What do you think is the significance of the title?
3. When do you think Holly crossed the line in her relationship with Seth? At what point did their friendship inch into infidelity? Why is she attracted to him? What need did he fulfill?
4. Discuss Laura and her decision to marry Phil so quickly. Do you agree with her rushed wedding? How would you have responded if you were Laura’s friend?
5. How does Holly’s past, specifically the “Blueberry Pancake Morning” affect her outlook on life?
6. When Holly told Annalisa she was thinking about leaving John, Annalisa responded by insisting they couldn’t be friends anymore. Do you agree with Annalisa’s response? Do you think she was being a true friend or unfair?
7. How does the theme of death play out in the story? Discuss Laura’s “Death brings life” conversation in chapter 19.
8. Do you think Holly would have continued to pursue Seth if he hadn’t broken things off after the attempted child abduction? If John hadn’t committed a heroic act,
9. What are Seth’s imperfections? How does Tori cause Holly to view Seth more realistically? Do you ever fall into the trap of viewing other people’s spouses and/or marriage with rose-colored glasses?
10. Discuss how running is symbolic to the story. The story begins and ends with Holly running. How is she different at the end of the book and how is she the same?
11. At the end of the book, John and Holly experience a wonderful Christmas morning then, a chapter later, have a terrible fight. Do you think this is realistic? How do you envision their lives and marriage continuing?
12. In real life, how can people in a struggling marriage pursue a healthier marriage when their spouse hasn’t performed a heroic act? (i.e. John rescuing Ava) What parts of the story do you identify with? Did the story cause you to view marriage differently?