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Book Club Kits: The Story of Arthur Truluv

Alamance County Public Libraries offer Book Club Kits for check out to area book clubs. Each kit contains 10 copies of a book and a reading guide.

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Book Summary

  • "Truluv is a moving novel about three people who have lost the person they love most, and must find their way back to happiness. Arthur, a widower, meets Maddy, an angry and friendless teenage girl, while visiting his late wife at the cemetery, where he goes every day for lunch. Against all odds, the two strike up a friendship that pulls them out of a serious rut. They band together with Arthur's nosy neighbor Lucille, to create lives that are truly worth living. Proving that life's most precious moments are sweeter when shared, they go from strangers, to friends, to an untraditional but loving family. Betrayal, loneliness, romance and family are at the heart of this honey of a book, a must-read for fans of Elizabeth Berg's early work. This is a story about life being affirmed at all ages, old and young, and about finding happiness when hope seems lost. Readers will laugh, cry, and love Truluv"-- Provided by publisher.
  • Read an excerpt.

Discussion Questions

1. How would you describe Arthur Moses? Although many of us (are you one?) find graveyards somewhat disconcerting, even eerie, Arthur finds comfort in visiting Nora's grave. What is it about the cemetery that offers him solace? 

2. What drives Maddy to the graveyard? How would you define Maddy and her father's relationship? What is it about Arthur that attracts Maddy, eventually inspiring her to coin the name Truluv?

3. Care to comment on Maddy's observation about love: "But the longer I live, the more I come to see that love is not so easy for everyone. It can get awfully complicated." Does it sadden you to realize that such a dark view of life and love comes from a teenager? Or is it preferable that young people attain wisdom or caution early on?

4. What does Lucille bring to the mix of personalities? How do you see her role?

5. "What is it that makes a family?" This question lies at the heart of the novel. Care to weigh in on it?

6. Follow-up to Question 5: Consider the quotation in full (from which the question above is taken):

What is it that makes a family? Certainly no document does, no legal pronouncement or accident of birth. No, real families come from choices we make about who we want to be bound to, and the ties to such families live in our hearts.

Consider the possible implications of that passage: perhaps blood families or legal families are not worth fighting for; it may be easier to walk away. Is the passage suggesting that, when family life falls apart, we should choose to opt out rather than attempt to work through painful relationships or deal with troubled family members? There is no right or wrong answer here: it's simply a question to spark discussion.

7. Do you find the ending satisfying? (Did you predict it?) Would you have preferred another? Why do you think Elizabeth Berg chose the conclusion she did?

8. Some have found this book schmaltzy and overly sentimental. Others find it deeply heartfelt and genuine. Where do you stand?

8. Can you see similarities between this novel and A Man Called Ove or The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry?

About the Author

Elizabeth Berg is the author of many bestselling novels, including The Story of Arthur Truluv, Open House (an Oprah’s Book Club selection), Talk Before Sleep, and The Year of Pleasures, as well as the short story collection The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted. Durable Goods and Joy School were selected as ALA Best Books of the Year. She adapted The Pull of the Moon into a play that enjoyed sold-out performances in Chicago and Indianapolis. Berg’s work has been published in thirty countries, and three of her novels have been turned into television movies. She is the founder of Writing Matters, a quality reading series dedicated to serving author, audience, and community. She teaches one-day writing workshops and is a popular speaker at venues around the country. Some of her most popular Facebook postings have been collected in Make Someone Happy and Still Happy. She lives outside Chicago.