Book Club Questions
THE OVERDUE LIFE OF AMY BYLER is “packaged,” as they say in the industry, to convey a light, optimistic read with a healthy dose of wish fulfillment. Do you think the inside of the book matched the outside? And if so, what did you think of reading a light story in a book club setting, when book club stories are often heavy and serious?
That said—there’s a lot going on in this book, ideas about literacy, childhood, parenting, motherhood, divorce, friendship, romantic love, and more. What theme of the book most stood out to you?
According to GoodReads, the most highlighted quote in the book is about forgiveness. Lena says, early on, “Some people have to practice forgiveness and will never be naturals. They’ll either do the work and get awesome at it but always have to think it over—or never do the work and die with a sack of hurts the size of an elephant… Some people, like your mother, forgive so naturally they don’t notice it happening. They’ll get hurt twice as often because they are so quick to forgive but feel it half as much because of their ability to let things go.” Is this true in your experience? Which kind of forgive-er are you?
While much of the book circles around Amy’s experiences as a mom, (and we’ll get to that, I promise,) there is a strong thread throughout the story about friendship. Amy needs Lena’s common sense throughout the story. She reconnects with Talia and in so doing reconnects with her old self. Kathryn furthers Amy’s passion for literacy and puts her stage of motherhood in perspective. And then there’s Matt, a new friend with a younger, more energized take on life. Which friend would you most want to have in her shoes? Do you have a Lena, Talia, or Matt in your own life?
There are a lot of book references tucked away in this story. Have you read any of the young adult books Amy, Daniel or Cori discuss? Do you read YA from time to time? Which YA books can you recommend, or would you like to read yourself?
Okay: Let’s talk Momspringa. Mother or not, would you want one? Where would you go? What would you do?
It seems in the book that Amy needs a whole village to get herself a little time off. How can you help someone get a break if she needs it—or how can you get that break for yourself?
Did you feel Amy was irresponsible to leave her kids with her ex, or more than justified? Is there anyone in your life you’d be comfortable overseeing your children—as Lena does in this story—or have you ever been someone else’s “Lena” in times of need?
One part of the story that the author mentions being inspired from her own life is Amy’s series of mostly harmless, fun first dates while in New York. Think back to a first date of your own. Did you enjoy the process of meeting new people in a romantic context? Do you still? Or does the thought of a blind date from the internet make you break out in hives?
What is the funniest moment in the book, in your opinion? Did it make you laugh out loud?
For Moms Especially: At the end of the book, Amy says, “I get now that you can love what you have, love your kids and your life and your friends, and still want more. I get that it’s ok to go out and get more—more love, more friendship, more fulfillment—and still be a wonderful mom.” Has this proven true in your own life?