THE ROPE SWING by Candace Kearns Read

  1. How has society changed between present day and the 1970’s in terms of social services, parenting laws, expectations, etc.?
  2. How compatible do you think Joe and Candace are? What draws them together? What keeps them together?
  3. Why did Candace feel anger and resentment when she first learned about her half-sister at the age of 32?
  4. How does the appearance of Candace’s half-sister Nancy change the dynamics in the relationship between Candace and her mother?
  5. Do you like Carol? Hate her? A little of both? Why or why not?
  6. To what extent do you feel Candace brought her problems upon herself?
  7. An earlier draft of the book ended before Carol’s death. Why do you think the author decided to extend the story to include those scenes?
  8. In a memoir, the author uses fictional techniques to tell a true story. Was this book successful in telling a true story that read somewhat like fiction? Why or why not?
  9. What do you think the ultimate message of the book is?
  10. Can anyone ever save a person who doesn’t want to be saved?
  11. In what way does Candace harm herself in the process of trying to help her mother?
  12. In what ways are Candace and Carol similar? How are they different?
  13. Why do you think the author chose to alternate POV’s between the adult and child narrators?
  14. Why do you think the story is told in present tense?
  15. What does it mean when the adult Candace says she keeps trying “like Sisyphus” to save her mother from herself?
  16. How much responsibility do you think we should take for our relatives when they have acted with selfishness and/or self-destructiveness?