Discussion Guide


This reader’s book club guide is meant to help you explore your own life experience in relationship to the story and themes in this memoir. Rather than focusing just on my life, it is my hope that my story will touch you in a way that creates a desire to explore yours.

  • This book describes the arc of Susan’s relationship with her sister. Their early childhood was one of  a sense of constant companionship, but when they started school, it all changed. How was their relationship affected?
  •  What issues does Susan grapple with early in life?
  •  How does her relationship to her sister shape her personality and life choices?
  • What does that touch in you about the centrality/or lack of centrality in your sibling relationships?
  • What role does ambivalence play in your relationships with significant others?
  • Susan sometimes fantasized about what Edna would have been like if she were normal. Have you had fantasies about significant people in your life being different than they are?
  • The theme of  the desire to be normal, and feeling like an outsider  increases when Susan learns she was born without a uterus and will never bear children.  How does that shape the choices she makes in her life? How does this play out in her intimate relationships?
  • Consider the ways in which you have felt different, or odd man out in your life.
  • How does being the child of holocaust survivors weave into the theme of being an outsider, and being unable to bear a child?
  • Susan came of age in the sixties, but  grew up in the fifties. How did the span of these decades play a part in her development as depicted in the book?
  • Within the book the metaphor of a kaleidoscope is brought in. What is the meaning and significance of it in relationship to Susan’s life?  How is this metaphor related to the title of the book: Edna’s Gift?
  • What ways has this book changed or reshaped your awareness of people with disabilities?
  • After reading this, how do you understand the relationship of brokenness and wholeness?

I would love to join your book club’s discussion of Edna’s Gift in person or via Skype.

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