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Lois Leveen: IMG Forsooth Me Not: Shakespeare, Juliet, Her Nurse, and a Novel

There's this writer, William Shakespeare. Perhaps you've heard of him. He wrote this play, Romeo and Juliet. Maybe you've heard of it as well. It's... Continue »
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    Juliet's Nurse

    Lois Leveen 9781476757445

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25 Remote Warehouse Literature- A to Z



Beachglass Cover



Reading Group Guide

1.) Talk about the title of the book. In what way are recovering addicts like these pieces of broken-yet-beautiful glass? What other groups of people also fit that description? 

2.) “That which does not kill us makes us stronger” is a theme prevalent in this story; what are some examples of this concept? 

3.) Which character do you think undergoes the most significant transformation? The least? 

4.) Many people view addicts/alcoholics as somewhat doomed, never able to make significant, lasting changes. What did this book do for you in terms of breaking through that belief? 

5.) On stigma and stereotype: Delia gets sober at seventeen, stating, “I had been using one chemical or another since I was eleven years old, so the fact that I would bottom out at an age when most people were just getting started was not surprising…” How did this sit with your prior concept of “who addicts are?” What about your preconceived notion of AA: was the AA in the story the way you imagined it really is? How so—or how not? What characters or incidents went against stereotype, and how did this affect your view of 12-step programs, of addiction, of “typical” male/female behavior, of AIDS? 

6.) The imagery surrounding the Joan character is rich with symbolism and metaphor. In what ways is she a guardian angel? What visuals support this notion? Talk about the ‘angels in your life. 

7.) Zodiac consistently relapses, lies, and engages in activities reminiscent of everything Delia and Timothy are trying to leave behind, yet they never throw her away. Even when Delia is at the end of her rope with Zodiacs antics, there is a sense of a soft spot, a camaraderie. Why do you think this is? Do you feel Delia should have been more like Timothy toward her (hopeful, trusting), or do you feel Timothy should have been more like Delia (reserved, wary, guarded)? Which one do you relate to more in this way? How would you react to such a person—or how have you reacted, if youve known someone like Zodiac? 

8.) Going from Point A (allusions to drunken promiscuity, James, Rafael) to Point B (finding a stable, non-addicted soulmate of a husband in Simon) is not an easy journey for Delia; she struggles to understand how to be in relationships, what her needs are, and how to behave in a healthy manner when it comes to men. Does her relationship with Timothy help—or hinder—this struggle? How? 

9.) One could make the statement, “Weve all had a James in our lives”—someone with whom a relationship is for whatever reason not feasible, yet the attraction is relentless. Why is he so irresistible to her? Do you feel Delia made the right move with James in the end? Why or why not? What would you have done with someone like that? 

10.) Do you think it would be harder for a recovering person to go through a tragedy and stay sober, or would the day-to-day stuff be just as likely to create room for a setback?    

11.) Water is a part of several key scenes in this story, in several different forms. Discuss the types of water used (ocean, lake, pool, shower, drinking) in various scenes and the meaning behind each one. 

12.) Discuss the concept of surrogate family. Think about how disjointed and mismatched the group of friends in this story would look to others. Is it possible that such seemingly different people would grow so connected?  In what other situations do otherwise dissimilar people find friendship and intimacy? 

Product Details

Blackburn, Wendy
General Fiction
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade Paperback
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
8.5 x 5.5 x 0.755 in

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Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Beachglass New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$19.99 In Stock
Product details 336 pages St. Martin's Griffin - English 9780312351595 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , When Delia entered treatment for drug and alcohol addiction at age seventeen, her life changed completely: she immersed herself in AA, began to heal old family wounds, and developed a whole new outlook on herself, on spirituality, on relationships. Out of the rubble, she built a life for herself that any recovering woman would be proud of: a loving husband, a beautiful daughter, her own brand of hard-won wisdom.

But her long-term sobriety is put to the test when she receives a phone call from her gay best friend, Timothy. Fulfilling a pact they made a decade prior, Delia tears herself away from her new life in Seattle and rushes home to Los Angeles, to Timothy's bedside, facing the one thing she fears her sobriety cannot survive--losing him.

Back in LA, Delia begins to encounter familiar people, places, and temptations...a barrage of memories that makes her stop and sort through her past, looking for the courage she knows she needs now more than ever. As her past catches up with her present, she sees that she has not merely survived her losses and mistakes, but has been made stronger because of them. This understanding comes to her in full as she holds a piece of beachglass in her hand and realizes that it is its scuffs and scrapes that give it its quiet splendor, its imperfections that give it its beauty and individuality, and that it is from being tossed and tumbled that it no longer shatters--and she knows the same goes for her too.

Set against a backdrop of West Hollywood in the late 1980s, populated by a drag queen and a stripper, beautiful boys and artists, and told by a narrator with equal doses of self-deprecating humor, old-soul awareness, fallibility, and brutalhonesty, "Beachglass "is a gritty and uplifting story of recovery, a journey that presents a fresh look into the world of AA" "and offers a convincing rendering of the constant struggle to go into recovery and stay there--no matter what. In this stunning debut novel, Wendy Blackburn writes of the transformative power of love--for others and oneself--and about friendship, about forgiveness, about redemption.

"Synopsis" by ,
Self-deprecating and bitingly smart, Delia, a recovering addict, forges her own brand of hard won wisdom on her journey in sobriety.  When Delia entered treatment for drug and alcohol addiction at seventeen, her life changed forever.  She believed she could make it through anything without backsliding--until she receives a phone call from her best friend, Timothy, whom she met in rehab.


Fulfilling a pact they made a decade earlier, she leaves her husband and child in Seattle to care for him as he dies.  While in Los Angeles, Delia sorts through her memories--and as her past catches up with her present, she sees she has not merely survived her losses and mistakes, but has been made better because of them.

"A tender, terrifying chronicle of the wages of modern-day sin and the hope of the world to come. . . . A story that rings with grief and triumph."

--Jacquelyn Mitchard, author, The Deep End of the Ocean and Still Summer

"Delicately portraying friendship and loss, temptation and redemption, the turmoil of addiction and the hard-won gifts of recovery, Beachglass is highly recommended for every reader--and required reading for all those in recovery."

-- Martha O'Connor, author of The Bitch Posse


"A vibrant, engaging, and utterly honest book...this is a novel which seems to be about recovery but is really about so much more: friendship, chosen families, and the transformative power of human love." 

-- Nicole Mones, author of Lost in Translation


"Set in a glittering, gritty, late-80s Los Angeles, Beachglass is a beautifully written novel, which, at its heart, is about friendship . . . Though this story made me weep, it helped me see--through my tears--just how messy and miraculous the human condition can be."           

- Rebecca Agiewich, author of BreakupBabe


WENDY BLACKBURN has been a chemical dependency counselor since 1992. She lives with her family in a small town outside of Seattle, Washington. This is her first novel. Please visit

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