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All Is Bright

All Is Bright

An eShort Story

  • reading group guide
AN ORIGINAL SHORT STORY FROM THE ACCLAIMED AUTHOR OF THE NOVELS THE OPPOSITE OF ME AND THE UPCOMING SKIPPING A BEAT . . .

Thirty-year-old Elise Andrews couldn’t bring herself to marry Griffin, her childhood friend turned sweetheart, so she let him walk away. Eight months after their breakup, she arrives in her hometown of Chicago on Christmas Eve and hears a voice from the past calling her name in the grocery store. It’s Griffin’s mother, Janice, who invites Elise over for a neighborhood gathering of eggnog and carols.

Walking into Janice’s house sends Elise tumbling headlong into memories of her relationship with Griffin—and with Janice, who exudes the kind of warmth Elise ached for after her own mom passed away when she was six. But Griffin has moved on, and suddenly Elise doubts her decision to give him up and lose her chance at being folded into his wonderful family. Confused and reeling, she goes in search of an answer to a universal question: How do we say good-bye to people we’ve loved without losing everything they’ve meant to us?

Heartwarming and witty, All Is Bright is a charming story about coming home for the holidays—and finding gifts in the most unexpected of places.
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  • Washington Square Press | 
  • 32 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451642575 | 
  • December 2010
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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for These Girls includes discussion questions. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book. Questions and Topics for Discussion 1. Discuss the role of work in each girl’s life. To what extent do they find a sense of identity in their jobs? How do they define success or failure in their work lives, and how does either affect the way they think about themselves? 2. Each character in These Girls seems to be facing both an internal and an external struggle. Can you identify these? Are these struggles resolved by the novel’s conclusion? 3. Did you initially empathize with Abby or Joanna? Did your feelings toward Joanna change as the novel progressed? Does the fact that Abby has an affair with a married man make her less of a sympathetic character to you? Why or why not? 4. Describe the ways that each girl interacts with and connects to other people. How are their relationship styles similar, and how are they different? 5. Given the close bond that Trey and Abby share, do you think that he should have told her what happened to their brother? Why or why not? 6. How are mother-daughter relationships depicted in this novel? Was there one dynamic in particular that you identified with? 7. After Cate reminds her mother not to call her at work, she thinks to herself, “I see more

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About the Author

Sarah Pekkanen

Sarah Pekkanen is the internationally bestselling author of The Opposite of Me, Skipping a Beat, These Girls, and The Best of Us as well as a series of linked short stories for ereaders. Her work has been published in numerous magazines and newspapers. She lives with her family, including a rescue dog and cat, in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

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