Questions for Understanding
- How did Kevin describe college in Sweden?
- Where did Kevin and Anna decide to live?
- How long did Kevin and his children stay in Washington?
- What did Anna do a few days after Christmas Day, 2010?
Questions for Group Reflection and Discussion
- In Chapter 1, we get a whirlwind tour of a marriage that didn’t work. From what you see here, what do you think was the main reason the marriage was such a disaster?
- What event or idea in this chapter affected you the most on an emotional level? Why?
- Anna describes Kevin as a man “of the Carpe Diem motto” and herself as more cautious. It seems like a case of “opposites attract.” What do you think of this idea? Do opposites really attract?
- If you faced situations like those described in the Prologue and Chapter 1, how do you think you would react? Why?
Ideas for Further Consideration
- Many people see marriage as a sacred institution. Others view it as an economic or emotional bond. What’s your view?
- Blending families is always tricky. What do you think are the main things to consider in order to successfully blend a family?
Especially for English Language Learners
Key Words and Expressions:
“I finally laid it out for him:” = I finally explained the situation clearly and directly. (page 5)
“Carpe Diem” = This is a Latin expression which means “seize the day.” It means to grab opportunities instead of letting them slip away. (page 6)
“littered with moving boxes” = messy; the moving boxes were here and there; not neat (page 7)
“blended family” = a family which has children from previous relationships (page 8)
Commas with Compound Sentences
A compound sentence is when you have two independent clauses joined by a conjunction, such as “and,” “but,” “so,” or “or.” The comma rule is to put a comma before the conjunction.
I liked him, but I found the relationship improbable. (p. 5)
College would be free for my kids, and the state would support them… (p.5)
He said he’d move to me instead, and I just smiled. (p.6)
This rule is not very difficult, but it can be confusing to recognize compound sentences. Here are two typical situations when a comma should not be used.
- When there is a conjunction but no second subject:
He called me a pessimist and (he) kept encouraging me to move to Stockholm. (p.5)
We were both middle-aged and (we) figured we should grab the opportunity to be happy. (p.6)
2. When “so” means “so that”:
In the end, we decided to get married right away so (that) we could process green cards for him and his kids…
To decide whether to use a comma before a conjunction, it’s important to a) identify the subjects and verbs in the sentence and b) decide what “so” means in the context of the sentence.
Answers to Part 1
- He said it was free.
- The decided to live in Washington State, USA.
- They stayed for less than four months.
- She rented a van and drove Kevin and his children, along with their luggage, back to Sea-Tac Airport.