This reading group guide for What We’ve Lost is Nothing 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.
On the first warm day in April, as Mary Elizabeth McPherson ditches high school, a series of break-ins rock her neighborhood; the burglars invade her house as she sits in her dining room, stoned with a friend. Mary Elizabeth’s community, Oak Park, is a suburb in flux. Nestled on the edge of Chicago’s gritty west side, Oak Park offers two stark lifestyles: to the west, theaters and shops frame posh homes and buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. To the east, adjacent to Chicago’s Austin Community Area, lies a neighborhood still reeling from urban decline. The community’s Diversity Assurance Program has curbed destructive racial housing practices, but cultural integration has been tenuous at best. In the center of the community sits Mary’s house on Ilios Lane, a pristine cul-de-sac dotted with quiet homes that bridge Oak Park’s extremes. As the aftermath of the burglaries unfolds over the course of twenty four hours, the residents of Ilios Lane must take stock of the world they believed they lived in, and the w