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Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

The Idea of Him

1. At the age of 16, Allie Crawford loses her father in a plane crash. How does this profound loss affect Allie’s adult relationships? What do the men in Allie’s life have in common?

2. Allie Crawford is a busy working mother of two. What do you think drew her to her husband, Wade? Why do you think she never pursued her screenwriting?

3. When brainstorming with classmate Tommy, Allie is forced to reflect on her past with James: “…my life was all about what began that night. It was that night, under the elms…that I first understood what love must be like. Something you can’t help but feel. Something I would spend decades trying to run from, or desperately searching for in places it didn’t exist.” (p.122-123) Why then do you think a romantic relationship between Allie and her childhood friend, James, never materialized?

4. When coworker Caitlin asks Allie if Wade still “rocked her world,” she didn’t quite know how to respond: “This was the seminal questions of the day I wasn’t ready for. It literally stung…How and when did he rock my world…Was I just wanting and needing to rock his so much I don’t even know the answer?” (p.73) Why did Caitlin’s question “sting?”

5. Can you relate to Allie’s hectic juggling act between home, work and romantic relationships? What areas does she excel in, and where do you think she may be falling short? Do you think her marriage to Wade is an equitable one?

6. Why do you think Allie ignores her instincts and trusts in Jackie Malone? Do you have any inkling of Jackie’s real connection to Murray?

7. There’s an old saying, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” You could say the problems Allie is dealing with are not unlike those of a Jane Austen heroine. In what way are they similar? How are things easier for a woman of today? How are they more difficult?

8. Were you satisfied by the ending? Which reveal surprised you the most?

9. Do you think falling for the “idea of him” is a strictly feminine trap, or do you think men also fall prey to the idea of a partner rather than the reality?

10. Author Holly Peterson worked at ABC News for more than a decade before becoming a novelist. Do you think her time as a journalist informed her writing? In what way?

11. This is Peterson’s second novel. Have you read her first novel, THE MANNY? If not, after reading THE IDEA OF HIM, are you eager to read more of her work? (You can learn more about the author on her website.)

12. What are some of your other favorite novels that deal with all that modern women have to manage?

The Idea of Him
by Holly Peterson

  • Publication Date: April 1, 2014
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
  • ISBN-10: 0062283103
  • ISBN-13: 9780062283108