Unfinished – Questions for Book Discussion
WARNING: Spoilers. Questions intended for after reading.
1. A series of tiny decisions lead up to one moment that changed their lives–Nicole decides to go to Jake’s graduation; she decides to look for him after the ceremony; she steps away before he sees her. She thinks the girl he’s with is a girlfriend, and she doesn’t go talk to him. Instead she runs away. If she hadn’t, their lives would have been very different. In real life do we have those moments that change everything?
2. Is Nicole or Jake more to blame for that moment? Is “blame” the right word?
3. If they had stayed together, would either of them have achieved the success they did?
4. Nicole can’t regret the life she has had, especially her kids, even if she regrets hurting Jake and the years they lost. Do you ever wonder about your “roads not taken”?
5. Nicole asks Beca if she’s ever been in love. Her friend answers, “Dozens of times.” When Nicole asks her if it hurts when it’s over, Beca thinks about the question. “Nah, by then I’ve fallen out of love. I’m usually a little sad because it’s fun to be in love. But then I know there’ll be someone else soon.”
That summer Jake thought about his feelings for Nicole and wasn’t sure how to label them. But on the night before he’s leaving the lake he has this realization: “More than lust, more than friendship, a perfect blend that’s love.”
How do you explain or define romantic love?
6. Is there a difference between loving someone and being in love with someone? “Science” would say there is, but the in love stage only lasts about two years. When Nicole is talking to Beca in Paris about what Michael has asked her to do, she says:
“Doesn’t that spark—that passion, that whatever it is—fade away over the years into something . . . I don’t know what the word is. You’re “in love” and then you love? After all these years, wouldn’t this be where we are, no matter how we started?”
“Maybe.” Beca pushed the orange juice carton around. “But I don’t think you ever forget it was there. That connection, that something—like it’s us and then there’s the rest of the world. Chase and I never had it. If we had, maybe we would have gotten through . . . pulled through the hard stuff together.”
Is being in love–at least at the beginning–critical to the success of a long-term relationship?
7. Could you–would you–forgive Michael for his part in how their lives unfolded?
8. From the cultural references–books and movies particularly–and the state of technology when Nicole and Jake meet, we can surmise that it was probably 1991. No texting, no email, no Skype. How differently might Nicole and Jake’s story have turned out if they’d had today’s technology to keep in touch during those twenty-one months apart?
9. And about that ending . . . many romance novels have epilogues to wrap up all the loose ends, but this one doesn’t. We’re left to wonder about how Jake does “getting help,” about whether he wants to have children with Nicole and how she would feel about raising another family, about how she’ll tell the twins about Jake and how they’ll handle the news. Do you like the unanswered questions? Or would you rather have had them answered? How does the author’s choice to leave them unanswered relate to the title of the book?