Visions of Life

Discussion Questions:

Dress Up

1. To whom is Eldon relating his story?

2. Why does he have such frightening dreams?

3. Is the reaction of Eldon’s parents typical? How does Eldon feel about their

4. Was Eldon hoping that his relationship with Presence would show that he was

5. What two things did Tiffany make for Eldon?

6. What made Eldon pick Tiffany up and tell her about his dressing up?

7. How does Eldon’s relationship with Tiffany differ from all his previous

8. Why didn’t Tiffany marry the boy from her high school who loved her?

9. Why does Eldon stop dressing up for a while after Tiffany’s disappearance?

10. Why does Eldon resume cross-dressing in the end?

Family Portrait

1. Right away you know Ellie was nervous about seeing her mother? What gave
    you that impression?

2. Why does Concetta seem so discontent and unhappy?

3. Why did Concetta seem jealous of her friends’ cooking? What do you think her
    friends’ influence on her is?

4. Why does Concetta not like her daughter-in-law?

5. What does Vincy’s absence say about the family dynamics?

6. Why was Ellie reluctant to be left behind with her mother?

7. Why does Ellie’s mother disapprove of her?

8. Why does Concetta want Ellie to move back home?

9. Why does Concetta blame Ellie for Raffaela’s death?

10. Why did Concetta not hang up the portraits of her other children?

11. Why did Ellie mar the painting? Do you think she will ever come home again?

Just Float

1. Do you think Steve’s wife as the narrator adds to the story?

2. How is Steve’s mood reflected by his behavior in the pool?

3. Much of the daily interaction is about food. What symbolism does the cooking
    have in the story?

4. What are possible reasons in addition to money for the estrangement
    between Steve and Audra?

5. Do you think the role of the counselor is important?

6. Do you think Audra’s response to Sandy asking if Audra wanted her old
    scrapbooks and pictures means that she was semi-open to mending the
    relationship with her father? If Steve had been more accommodating, might he
    have created a first step towards reconciliation?

7. What motivates Steve to suddenly accept the estrangement with Audra after so
    many years?

Sharing Daniel

1. Why does Adrienne confront Melanie rather than Daniel?

2. Adrienne has applied for a poet residency out of town – in Boston. Why hasn’t
    she told Daniel about it?

3. Why does Adrienne relate to the painting at Angela’s Antiques?

4. Is it surprising that Melanie would ask Adrienne to share Daniel? How would
    you have responded if you were Adrienne?

5. Why is Adrienne so ready to forgive Daniel?

6. Why does Daniel agree so quickly to go to Boston with Adrienne?

7. The author uses a Russian poem to indicate that one’s inner passion comes
    before the love for another. Do you agree?

8. Do you think Adrienne and Daniel’s relationship will last?


1. What was behind Trish’s introduction of the Savage Lifestyle to her and
    Marcus’ lives?

2. What trait in Marcus do you feel leads to the breakdown of his marriage?

3. Marcus thinks that he receives signals from his wife to stop talking. What are
    some examples?

4. How did their relationship begin, and how did it change over time?

5. Why does Trish want to end the marriage when they’re both looking and
    feeling better about their bodies?

6. Do you think Trish would agree with the chart Marcus drew in his head to
    explain the problem?

7. Why does Anita ask her father to use her in his exercise routine?

8. What does Marcus gain from his devotion to the exercise routine besides
    improving himself physically?


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