THE SHORTEST WAY HOME Questions for Discussion

1. After spending most of his adult life as a nurse in developing countries, Sean returns home to reconnect with what’s left of his family. How might things have turned out differently if he’d gone home more often?

2. The Doran family has dealt with enormous loss. How does each member of the family cope, and how well are these coping methods working?

3. When he first comes home, Sean falls into some old habits, including his teenage crush on Chrissy Stillman. In what ways is Sean stuck in his adolescence? What events help him grow up a bit over the course of the story?

4. What does Sean learn about his brother Hugh through other characters in this book? How does this impact Sean’s decisions about his own future? Do you think Sean will be a good parent? What will his shortcomings be?

5. Outwardly Aunt Vivvy displays mixed emotions about her role as sudden parent to the Doran kids. What do you think her true feelings are? Why does she hide them?

6. Sean’s relationship with God shifts over the course of this book. How does it evolve and why? Is destiny a permanent thing or can it change?

7.  What was the saddest moment of the story for you? The funniest? The most surprising?

8. Which character are you most like? How did you relate to that character’s learning curve over the course of the story?

9. Though he has only ever worked in extremely impoverished communities, Sean takes a temporary job as a school nurse. Where you surprised by what Sean learns from this experience?

10.  At the end of the book, Sean and Rebecca have some decisions to make about their future. What do you think their life will look like? What advice would you give them?

11. What character would you most like to have lunch with and why? What questions would you ask? What would you like to tell him or her?

12. If you were at risk for a genetic disease, would you get tested?