The Delaney family may seem like the epitome of a perfect, loving family, but behind closed doors, tensions are high, and secrets are lurking. When their mother goes missing, the Delaney children find themselves torn between loyalty to their father and suspicions about his involvement in her disappearance.
In this Liane Moriarty’s breathtaking page-turner, the Delaney family’s story will keep you on the edge of your seat as you uncover the truth about what really happened to Joy and the dark secrets that threaten to tear the family apart.
With this discussion guide, we’ll have a look at some book club questions for Apples Never Fall and why it’s a must-read for anyone looking to understand this intricate web of lies, deceit and betrayal that lies within closed doors.
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Book Club Questions For Apples Never Fall
- The presence of Savannah in the Delaney household brings to surface long-standing tensions among the family members. While Joy’s decision to take in Savannah is a compassionate one, it also highlights the shortcomings of Stan’s parenting style, which placed an excessive emphasis on tennis and neglected his children’s emotional needs. Savannah’s presence also forces the siblings to confront their own feelings of resentment and disappointment toward their father and the impact of their upbringing on their adult lives.
Be honest and answer, how much did you hate Savannah after the novel ended?
- The revelation about Joy’s involvement in Harry Haddad’s departure causes a rift between her and Stan, as it reveals a betrayal that he cannot forgive. Joy’s decision to encourage Haddad to leave his coaching and training with Stan had a significant impact on Stan’s career, and he feels that Joy acted selfishly without regard for his feelings or their shared goals.
Do you think, as a husband-wife duo, it was worthy of Joy to believe exactly what Savannah said to her? Was their marriage a sham and nothing else where there was no mutual trust? What’s your take?
- The disappearance of Joy affects each of the Delaney siblings differently. Brooke’s clinic is struggling, Logan’s relationship with his girlfriend is falling apart, Troy is grappling with his past and trying to make amends, and Amy is dealing with various neuroses.
In what ways do you think this disappearance forces them to reassess their lives and confront their personal demons?
- Stan’s suspicion of Joy’s disappearance may be rooted in his own guilt and shame over their deteriorating relationship. He may feel responsible for driving her away, either through his anger and resentment toward her or through his own actions, such as leaving the house and not returning until after she was gone. Additionally, Stan’s history as a successful coach and his ability to manipulate and control his players may make him a likely suspect in the eyes of the police.
How do you think Stan would have felt when he got to know all this? What would he have gone through, though on a temporary basis until the actual climax was revealed?
- Joy’s tennis style, which involves laying back and patiently waiting for the right moment to assert strength, mirrors her approach to life and family. She is always assessing the situation and waiting for that right moment to take action. She doesn’t challenge her opponents head-on, but rather waits for weaknesses to be exposed before making a move.
Do you think the same thing is reflected in her life as a mother and wife who tries to keep a family united?
- The Delaney children’s failed tennis careers serve as a backdrop for the novel’s exploration of the impact of high-pressure sports training on young athletes and their families. Each of the children has experienced some degree of trauma and disillusionment as a result of their father’s coaching, and their struggles highlight the costs of pursuing athletic excellence at any cost.
I personally think they needed a mental health mentor, which they did not get. What do you think?
- Stan’s brooding and anger contribute to the tension in the family by creating a sense of instability and unpredictability. His grudges and simmering anger make it difficult for others to connect with him and create a sense of distance between himself and his family members. This emotional distance is a major obstacle to building a cohesive and supportive family unit.
Do you agree? Also, in spite of what happened to Stan, let’s discuss the positives and negatives of his character.
- Joy’s retreat experience changes her perspective on her family and her role in it by giving her a chance to step back and reflect on her life. She realizes that she cannot control her family’s actions or emotions, but she can control her own response to them. She returns to her family with a renewed sense of purpose and a determination to be the peacemaker, creating and sustaining her perfectly imperfect family.
- The Delaney siblings’ upbringing with parents who were obsessed with tennis and success shaped their approach to relationships and love. They struggle to trust and rely on others, preferring to be self-sufficient and independent. Their fear of failure and disappointment leads them to avoid long-term commitments and perceive love as a negative force. However, through their experiences during their mother’s disappearance, they begin to reevaluate their priorities and open themselves up to the possibility of love and connection.
Do you think events like these are responsible for changing our perspective on life?
- The major themes of the novel include family dynamics, the impact of past experiences on present behavior, the search for identity and purpose, and the complexities of love and relationships. These themes are explored through the characters’ experiences and relationships with each other, as well as their individual struggles to find meaning and fulfillment in their lives.
Which theme is closest to your heart and affected you the most?
- The Delaney family’s obsession with tennis serves as a symbol of their struggles with relationships and success. Their parents’ expectation that they would all become successful tennis players place immense pressure on them and sets them up for disappointment and failure. The siblings’ approach to love and relationships mirror their approach to tennis, as they view it as a competition to be won or lost.
Coming to parental expectations affecting our lives, a similar book “I’m Glad My Mom Died” showed how much Jennette McCurdy resented her mom. If you have read that book (or even if you haven’t), let’s discuss how much our parents play a role in shaping our careers.
- Savannah’s actions are significant and reveal a darker side to her character. Her decision to drug her mother and leave her to starve to death is disturbing and shows that she is willing to go to extreme lengths to get what she wants. It also suggests that she may have unresolved issues that need to be addressed. The revelation of her actions adds an unexpected twist to the story and leaves the reader with a lot to ponder.
Did you like this ending? Also, if this novel gets a sequel, do you expect a face-to-face battle between the Delaney twins and Savannah?
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