A life-affirming novel to read with your book club.
The Collected Regrets of Clover is a book about death. But the discussion around death in the book is a little different than what you might be used to. Following a death doula named Clover, the book joins our protagonist on a journey to find out what it means to live. Despite centring around a typically taboo subject, this book is a big-hearted celebration of life, full of interesting conversation topics to discuss with your book club.
Discussion points and questions
- Clover believes that one of the reasons that death is such a scary topic for people is because no one really talks about it in Western society. Were you apprehensive about reading this book because it was about death? How did you feel about the topic once you had read the book?
- When Grandpa died, Clover was diagnosed with ‘chronic grief’ because she hadn’t ‘gotten over’ her grief within six months. Why do you think this diagnosis bothered her so much and do you think that grief should be seen as a finite thing to be overcome?
- Even though Clover is seen as a ‘loner’ by society, she is actually quite emotionally intelligent and good with people. Why do you think this disconnect exists? Why is it so hard for her to connect with people outside of a professional context?
- Sebastian states that his fear of death came partly from his religious upbringing. How did your upbringing and family traditions shape your feelings about death and mortality?
- What do you think are the most important lessons Clover learned from her clients about how to support someone who is grieving or dying?
- Clover tries to learn from other people’s regrets but ignores most of her own for much of the book. What are some of your own regrets that you’ve been avoiding that you might be able to learn from or take action on? Is there something you’ve always wanted to do?
- When Clover does finally acknowledge her regrets, one of them is that she regrets ‘living out of habit’. What does that mean?
- Clover binge-watches movies as a kind of coping mechanism to numb her feelings of loneliness and isolation. Do you think this is a healthy thing to do or is there a better way she might deal with those uncomfortable emotions?
- Leo tells Clover that the secret to a beautiful death is living a beautiful life – putting your heart out there, letting it get broken, taking chances and making mistakes. How would you define what it means to ‘live a beautiful life’?
- If today were your last day on earth, which of Clover’s three notebooks – Advice, Regrets, or Confessions – do you think you would end up in and why?
- Clover believes that ‘I love you’ is one of the hardest things for people to say, and Sebastian also tells her that no one in his family ever says it. Why do you think it’s so difficult for some people to say ‘I love you’? Are there other ways in which it can be expressed?
- Claudia tells Clover to be ‘cautiously reckless’. What do you think she means by that?
- Several characters discuss the concept of seeing someone ‘in the next life’ and that perhaps we meet the same souls in each lifetime, resolving different things each time. What do you think about this? Is there someone you’ve met and felt like you might have known them in a past life?
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