This reading group guide for The Mercy Papers: A Memoir of Three Weeks by Robin Romm includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. 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. Introduction
Robin’s mother, Jackie, was diagnosed with breast cancer the summer after her freshman year of college. For the past nine years, Jackie has been fighting to manage her disease, but the family believes she has entered its final stages and asks Robin to return home. In the ensuing three weeks Robin, her father, and their friends struggle to come to terms with the approaching loss of Jackie.
Robin Romm provides a savaging and emotionally honest exploration of the devastation she feels as she contemplates the eternal absence of her mother; there is no peace or relief from the pain. In her disavowal of platitudes about the passage of time and its powers to heal, Robin takes us to the dark abyss that haunts any of us who’ve loved and lost. Her wish that her mother’s journey will be of some use to readers is secured as we leave this haunting and unapologetically forthright reality check on the enduring cost of loss.
Questions for Discuss