The Art of Holding On and Letting Go (Paperback)
Elephant Rock Productions, Inc., 9780996864916, 307pp.
Publication Date: September 12, 2016
Other Editions of This Title:
MP3 CD (4/25/2017)
“When every piece falls into place, it’s like a dance, a delicate but powerful balancing act. The art of holding on and letting go at the same time.”
Competitive climber Cara Jenkins feels most at home high off the ground, clinging to a rock wall by her fingertips. She’s enjoyed a roaming life with her mountaineering parents, making the natural world her jungle gym, the writings of Annie Dillard and Henry David Thoreau her textbooks. But when tragedy strikes on an Ecuadoran mountaintop, Cara’s nomadic lifestyle comes to an abrupt halt.
Starting over at her grandparents’ home in suburban Detroit, Cara embarks on a year of discovery, uncovering unknown strengths, friendships, and first love. Cara’s journey illustrates the transformative power of nature, love and loss, and discovering that home can be far from where you started.
About the Author
Praise For The Art of Holding On and Letting Go…
Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com
1. How do the writings of naturalists such as John Muir, Henry David Thoreau, and Annie Dillard shape Cara’s worldview?
2. Cara is deeply affected by the death of her uncle Max. In what ways does she mourn and celebrate his memory?
3. The contrast between Cara’s climbing life and her suburban life are in conflict throughout the novel. How does she make peace with these competing landscapes?
4. Cara feels most free when she’s climbing. What activity in your life brings you this kind of joy and liberation?
5. Did you notice the lack of technology in Cara’s life? What are the effects of Cara not having her nose buried in a cell phone 24-7? What is she able to experience more fully?
6. How does being an outsider on the climbing team and in school shape Cara’s identity?
7. How does Kaitlyn’s experience and growth throughout the novel mirror Cara’s? How do these friends help each other?
8. How does Cara’s relationship with her free-spirited parents evolve over the course of the novel? What does Cara understand about her parents at the end of the book that she didn’t at the beginning?
9. Compare and contrast the three different settings of the novel. How do these environments contribute to the action and meaning of the book?
10. Cara spends the first two-thirds of the novel wanting to return to California. What does she realize about the meaning of home during her time with Nick, Kaitlyn, and her grandparents?