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"Sunrise and the Real World" Discussion Questions

Ideal for book clubs, reading groups, or just for your own enjoyment, here are some questions that will get people talking.

At the bottom of this post is a PDF of these same questions.

  1. Young Lorraine describes her life as a counselor at Sunrise Academy and her “other” life with her boyfriend almost as two separate existences. What do you notice about her when she’s at Sunrise? What does life seem to offer her? What does this early split perspective foreshadow?

  2. How likable is Lorraine as a narrator? How much does her likeability, or unlikeability, influence her actions and the consequences she faces?

  3. The shifting line between who is good and who is bad is a dominant theme of the novel. How does the passage of time impact Lorraine’s sense of morality? Has society’s sense of morality changed since the 1970’s? Has yours?

  4. Lorraine’s relationship with her mother and daughter is only briefly touched upon. Does this impact your sense of her character? Why?

  5. Mount Desert Island, Northeast Harbor, and Acadia National Park play a pivotal role in the first part of the novel, and characters frequently find themselves isolated within nature. What does this say about the characters? What does this say about the way the novel explores the theme of nature?

  6. Older Lorraine tries to change her life by revisiting the murder of Annie and Garrett and writing a book about it. What does this say about the act of writing? How does this change Lorraine?

  7. Sunrise Academy is considered the “last stop” for these kids before jail. What is your opinion of rehabilitation programs like Sunrise? What about the relationships between the counselors and the children? Specifically, what is the impact of Eliot’s behavior?

  8. In the end, Lorraine appears to see her daughter meeting her on the path. Did you think this was real or a delusion? Why? What does this represent, and why is this so important?


Sunrise and the Real World Discussion Questions
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