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Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

Eating Heaven

1. The characters in this novel are struggling to learn how to properly care for one another on many different levels. In what ways do they succeed or fail to be nurturing?

2. How does Eleanor's attitude toward food change throughout the book? What does her inability to vomit signify in her life? Her decrease in appetite?

3. The author does not reveal Eleanor's actual size. Why do you think she made this decision, and how do you feel about it? What do you imagine Eleanor's size to be, and how does it differ from or match your group members' perceptions?

4. Food is described so intimately and beautifully in Eating Heaven, it is almost a character itself. How does the author use food to tell the story? Find passages where food reveals emotions, desires, connections, or conflicts.

5. What spurs Eleanor to see Suzanne Long, the food therapist? Why does she stop seeing her? What does Eleanor learn from Suzanne, and what does she learn on her own?

6. Why does Bebe refuse to see Benny, even when he is dying?

7. What is Bebe referring to when she tells Eleanor on page 199, 'Benny isn't quite the angel you think he is?' How did your perceptions of Bebe and of her relationship with Benny change over the course of the story?

8. What would you do, if you found out that your family had a secret they had kept from you all your life?

9. Eleanor eats when she is stressed or upset. How do Anne and Christine cope with their life-changing problems?

10. What, for Benny, is the most difficult part of his illness?

11. Think about the men in Eleanor's life --- Benny, Stefan, Henry, and the memory of her father. How are these relationships similar? Different? What issues, if any, does she resolve with them by the end of the book, and how?

Eating Heaven
by Jennie Shortridge

  • Publication Date: September 6, 2005
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: NAL Trade
  • ISBN-10: 0451216431
  • ISBN-13: 9780451216434