What Doesn't Kill You

What Doesn't Kill You

A Novel

  • reading group guide

“I really thought I had a handle on life—then it broke off.”

Divorced since her daughter, Amber, was young, forty-something Tee has been “handling her business”—supporting herself after her would-be songwriter husband took off for L.A.—and she’s done all right. But then everything changes. First, she’s outplaced from her longtime job and doesn’t tell anyone. Then she throws her daughter a dream wedding and, after overindulging in champagne, Tee wakes up in bed with the younger best man.

For the first time in twenty- five years, she doesn’t know who she is or what she’s going to do every day. Deep in denial, Tee continues to live her life as if nothing has changed. After a series of financial missteps compound her already shaky situation, she teeters on the edge of bankruptcy. That’s when she decides that it’s time to wake up and face reality.

Beyond “making money,” Tee never really decided what she wanted to do with her life. Then she just stopped thinking about it and invested her hopes in someone else’s dream. Now it’s her chance to invest in herself. Can she step out on faith to follow her own dream?
Choose a format:
  • Touchstone | 
  • 320 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781416564218 | 
  • January 2010
List Price $19.99
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UPTOWN Authors Virginia DeBerry and Donna Grant: How We Met

Bestselling authors Virginia Deberry and Donna Grant recount how they first met and began working together as a writing team.

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide includes discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with authors Virginia DeBerry and Donna Grant. 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 for Discussion

1. The first chapter epigraph quotes, “ . . . all you can do is mop up the aftermath, dump it in a giant personal hazmat container and move on.” The topic of resilience is deeply woven into the fabric of Tee’s story. Do you feel that it was her own strong character, the people around her or both that allowed her to pull through the adversity she faced?

2. How did denial facilitate more problems for Tee? She believes that you should “never let them see you sweat” (page 8), and acts accordingly, but that only deepens her debt and her troubles. Is this a common hurdle for people in distress?

3. What role does Olivia play in Tee’s development? Does her idea of destiny eventually become part of Tee’s religion as well? How does Olivia’s parenting style differ from Tee’s?

4. Both of Tee’s important careers—at Markson & Daughter and To a Tee—help her make use of skills (label design and organizing) that she originally hadn see more

About the Authors

Author Revealed

Q. how did you come to write What Doesn't Kill You?

A. Writing this book was a catharsis of sorts. Several years ago Donna and I had our own financial meltdown--that like Tee's arrived quite unexpectedly. All of our friends thought we should write about it. So we gave ourselves enough time to have a bit of perspective and then came up with a story that was "inspired by" our experiences rather than one that was completly autobiographical. Time also allowed us to give Tee a sense of humor about her predicament--because you can't really see the funny until after you have gone through your trials and come out the other side.

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