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Buzz Book Club: The Life Before Her Eyes

Buzz Book Club: The Life Before Her Eyes, Section Three

Welcome back Buzz Book Club readers! At this point in The Life Before Her Eyes it's pretty clear something is seriously "off" with Diana. I have a few guesses as to what is going on but again, I'm trying to just enjoy the prose and the dreamlike quality of the imagery without skipping ahead.

If you're new to the Book Club, here's the drill: Every week I'll suggest chapters to complete by the next post (which, in this case, will go up every Friday in April). In these weekly Book Club posts, I'll posit a few questions to prompt discussion in the comments section.

Of course, you are always welcome to read beyond the weekly chapters, but please don't spoil anything in the comments! This is particularly important with this book because each section reveals more about these mysterious things that are happening to Diana. After the jump you'll find some questions that struck me as I read this section.

The next assignment: Read from the start of Part Four, to the end (just in time for the movie, which opens in some cities today)! We'll chat about this final section and the book in its entirety on Friday, April 25.

To discuss the second section of The Life Before Her Eyes (in which we read to the end of the chapter titled "Glare"),

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  1. In this section, it becomes harder to know what to make of Diana's behavior. It seems like she typed out that disturbing story for Emma and she believes her long-dead cat is back. Diana also talks at several points about her headaches. Is she crazy? Suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder? Something else? What are your theories?
  2. We also get a larger glimpse into Diana's troubled youth, though later she thinks of herself as a glass-half-full type and doesn't like morbid thoughts. She feels like a soccer mom and a complete stranger to the teenager she'd been, but she's also clearly haunted by that girl. Does everyone feel such a divide between the girl they once were and the woman they will become? Is this feeling common?
  3. The stark chapter titles stood out to me in this section — "Skin," "Glass," "Glare." Have you been noticing the titles? And do you read anything into how they relate to the stories in each chapter?
  4. Sister Beatrice, God, and the nature of good and evil play huge parts in Diana's thoughts. Sister Beatrice's line in the chapter titled "Skin" seems incredibly meaningful in the grand scope of the novel: "Often there's no explanation for evil and no way to locate its source." There is also the note written by Diana's husband that strikes Diana so much: "Conscience is the voice of God in the nature and heart of man." What do you make of all the references to religion, to God, and to good vs. evil?
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1. Diana’s behavior is certainly odd. Emma’s story was a very interesting glimpse into Diana’s mind I think. I think she was thinking about her past and just typed those words on auto-pilot. I mean the way Bethany Maria Anna Elizabeth (what a name!) is described in the story coincides with Diana’s youth. She is very naughty, she was sexually active and she had to make that awful decision in the prologue. It seems that Diana’s conscience formed those words without her realizing it; she obviously doesn’t feel too good about her past and the decisions she made. 2. I noticed the great divide between characters; in her case I chalk it up to the bathroom experience when she was younger. I don’t think she likes that girl (a girl who would sacrifice her best friend so she would be safe) so she tried very hard to become the opposite of that girl. I am only 23 so I don’t know if there is a great divide (I haven’t experienced it yet) but I do have my moments where I think that I was really immature, and I can’t believe I did that. But, I think most people have those thoughts. 3. I did notice the titles, but honestly didn’t pay any attention to them. I guess maybe they could be seen as titles to her poems, with each chapter being a poem, but I am really not sure. 4. Sister Beatrice’s line about evil did strike me. Is there something evil in Diana’s life that she cannot locate? Everything that is happening seems very odd, and she cannot figure out how it is happening. That quote really goes along with Diana’s life at this current moment. She seems to be looking for an answer but cannot locate it.
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