A Novel in Twelve Steps
Open Road Media, 9781453295076, 230pp.
Publication Date: June 4, 2013
About the Author
Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com
There are twelve steps in the novel—one step per chapter. Did this add to the storyline for you? Were you aware of the steps’ direct connections to the steps in traditional twelve step programs? Did you have a favorite step? If so, which one and why? Did you have a least favorite step?
Early on in the story, we find out that Sophie is a member of Match.com. Have you ever tried online dating? If so, which one(s)? Was your experience favorable? Would you do it again? Care to share any stories with the group?
Sophie says, “I thought the storming and the eruption would lead to some grand gesture or admission of undying love and devotion….” And, later in the story, we learn the all-important Rule #1: Staging a dramatic outburst never leads to a grand gesture. Tell the truth—have you ever stormed out or staged a dramatic outburst in hopes of eliciting a “grand gesture”? Details, details?
As the story progresses, Sophie, Annie, and their friends become increasingly vulnerable, honest and open. Do you think this made them more relatable? Was there any point in the story when you felt uncomfortable—for them or yourself—in the face of this newfound vulnerability?
We meet anthropologist Dr. Helen Fisher of Rutgers University. Dr. Fisher really does exist. She really has written a book called Why We Love. And her findings reported in Love Rehab are, indeed, true. We learn that people in the throes of early romantic love experience a dopamine rush at the same levels as those addicted to cigarettes or even cocaine. Would you agree with her findings? Have you ever found yourself in the midst of this kind of chemical reaction? Do you find it exhilarating? Terrifying? None of the above? What was your most extreme case?
There’s mention of “the evolution of the beginning of love in the digital age”, which starts with texting, moves to Gchatting and then on to high-frequency phone calls. Is this how things fall into place in your world? Do you think it works? Is this the best way to get to know someone?
We meet Joe. Sophie notes he wasn’t invited to their LAA meeting because men nurse broken hearts “in a different way than women.” Do you think this is true? If so, why do you think that is?
At one point, Sophie calls herself out as a “love pusher”—wanting her boyfriends to like her so much that she never considers whether she actually likes them and noting that “it felt good to make someone like me.” Do you think it’s possible to make someone like you? Have you ever tried? What was the outcome?
In addition to the twelve steps, there are seven rules, ranging from seeking the grand gesture to not needing to be “See you next Tuesday” about things. Did you have a favorite rule? If so, which one and what made it so perfect for you?
Sophie, Annie, Princess, Stella—the list goes on. Love Rehab is filled with characters familiar to all of us. Some we love. Some…maybe not so much. Did you have a favorite character? If so, who and why? And who really got under your skin? Who was your least favorite character in the story?
Were you glad when Sophie and Joe hooked up? Were you expecting it to happen? What did you think when they decided to spend time apart to take care of mending their own lives. Were you worried they might not get back together again? Would you rather have seen Sophie get back together with Eric?
If you were to set-up your own Love Rehab group: what would it look like?
Last question: What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done in the name of love?