1. Each chapter of Love All is told from the point of view of one of the five family members living at 59 Susquehanna, but only Julia’s chapters are in the first person. What is the significance of this? How does isolating the points of view from chapter to chapter affect the way the narrative comes together and how you felt about each character? Which Obermeyer did you connect to the most and why?
2. The power of secrets is a recurring theme in Love All. What are some of the secrets each character holds, and how do they impact the characters’ development? Do you think it is better to keep a damaging secret hidden, or is it better to reveal it, no matter the consequences?
3. The Sex Cure was a real novel published in the 1960s. How is the scandal of The Sex Cure reflected in the lives of the characters in the novel? Why do you think the author chose to use this as the foundation of her novel?
4. Each Obermeyer possesses certain unfulfilled desires or dreams that get in the way of their ideal happiness. How do the characters deal with their discontent as their plans go astray? What holds each of them back and do the reasons overlap? Do any of the characters resolve their inner conflicts?
5. Would things have turned out differently if Anne and Hugh had communicated their feelings to one another after the Valentine’s Day party back when their relationship was new? What attracted them to each other in the first place, and what changed in their relationship? Do you believe that their marriage could have been saved? When have you regretted a misstep in a relationship and what, if anything, would you have done differently?
6. How much does the unique setting of Cooperstown defi ne this story? How does the town act as a source of comfort, but also a crutch to its inhabitants?
7. Anne seems to place great importance on the way she is perceived. In what ways does her external posture differ from her internal self? Why does she become fascinated by The Sex Cure as a young girl? Why does she vandalize the author’s home? Why do you think she never shows Hugh the will she writes when she’s upset?
8. Why is Teddy so afraid to leave Cooperstown? What is the significance of the Ted Williams card and why do you think Teddy destroys it? What changes in Teddy after he finds out about his dad’s affair?
9. Hugh gains a new sense of power and resolve after the accident at his school and the onset of his affair overcoming the inertia that began with the death of his brother. What stirs this emotion in him? Do you sympathize with Hugh or do you think he is selfi sh as a husband and a father?
10. Bob never finds out if his wife knew about his ongoing affairs throughout their marriage. He says that he doesn’t care to look forward or back in life, but his past continues to haunt him even after the death of his wife. Do you think that it is possible to strictly live in the moment, or is your present state a constant blend of past, present, and future?
11. Julia says, “the only people who could really hurt us were the people we love.” Do you think this is true? Why does Julia write the letter about Carl? How is this manifested in the other relationships in the novel? Is it inevitable to hurt those we love the most? Why or why not?
(Questions issued by publisher.)
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