READING GUIDE 1) We discover very quickly that Dougie is a flawed man. Through Dougie himself and through his friends’ eyes we see how his alcoholism ruined his marriage, his business and nearly cost him everything. Now he is trying to mend his ways to be a good father to Stevie, but temptation is always waiting in the wings. What were your first impressions of Dougie? Did your view of him change over the course of the novel? 2) Simon betrays Dougie’s friendship in one of the worst ways possible. Were you surprised by Simon’s actions? Do you think that if he had handled things differently afterwards and acknowledged his wrong doing their friendship might have survived? 3) Stevie has her own role to play in Simon’s betrayal – did you view her as a wholly innocent victim or did you feel she played a more active role? 4) Victoria is a good and loyal friend who suffers her own heartbreak. What do you think her real feelings for Dougie are, and how might they have shaped her marriage with Simon? 5) Janine starts the novel in a very safe and steady new relationship with Mike – at what point did you begin to wonder if her feelings for Dougie had fully been extinguished? 6) Janine and Dougie face one of the most devastating losses life can throw at you when their baby died. How much do you think this affected their marriage? Do you think any marriage would be strong enough to survive unscathed after that? 7) Nina is an extraordinarily powerful character who is very instrumental in turning Dougie’s life around. What did you make of her choice to keep her imminent death from him a secret? Do you think his initial anger towards her was justified?
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