Reading Guide Questions for LOST WYOMING

Spoiler Alert!

The following questions reveal important plot and character development points. To avoid spoilers, please read Lost Wyoming in its entirety before you read these questions.

What is the significance of the book's title? Of the lost puzzle piece it refers to?

How do Maggie's family and the nature of her parents' and her sister's love shape who she is, who she isn't, and who she has the potential to become?

  • How does Nell and Hank's relationship affect Maggie's view of intimate relationships? How does it affect Becky's? Why are the effects different on Becky than they are on Maggie?
  • How do Maggie's identity and relationship struggles mirror Nell's? How do they differ?
  • When Maggie tells her parents she plans to move in with Dave, Nell reacts by saying that committing to someone at age 20 will box Maggie in. In what ways does Nell prove to be right about this?
Lost Wyoming is a story about the losses that come along with growing up. Maggie loses illusions, expectations, love, certainty, and a parent as well. How does she cope with these losses, at first and over time? How does she incorporate them into who she is and mature/grow as a person?
 
Why do many Millennials struggle to build adult lives and embrace opportunities? Is their struggle different from that of prior generations?
 
Given that Dave never wanted to say goodbye to Maggie, what could he have done differently to keep her?
  • What is the difference between knowing someone loves you and actually feeling loved? How important is that difference?
  • Is love a fair balance? Is it ever really about anyone but yourself: your needs, actions and reactions, your hurts and disappointments?
  • Do we place more responsibility on women than on men for preserving relationships?
  • What do you think Maggie does when she gets back to Chicago after the end of the book?
 Food - the pleasures of eating, the satisfactions and burdens of cooking, the connection between tastes, memories and feelings - recurs as a theme. What role do food and cooking play in your relationships and memories?
 
Memory also recurs as a theme. In an early chapter, Dave wonders if what you remember is significant or merely the result of how your particular brain works. Later, Maggie recognizes the pliable nature of memory when she acknowledges that how you view your experiences depends on what you choose to remember.
  • What role do you think memory plays in defining and determining our identities? Our relationships? Our understanding of what happens over the course of our lives?
  • Have you ever discovered that you remember a shared event differently than do the people with whom you shared it? What do you think this tells us about the reliability of memory?
You, as a reader, are given a great deal of context throughout Lost Wyoming that Maggie does not have. Did you remember that as you read and formed judgments about Maggie? Why do you think the author chose to write the book that way?