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BOOK DISCUSSION GUIDE for Just Keep Swimming: a crash, a quest, and waves of hope
1. Did you wonder about the quote that opens the first chapter? “The most defining—and, in many ways, positive—moment of my life might also be considered the most tragic by those who do not know me?” Have you experienced a defining moment?
2. In the first section, The Deep End, Cindy waits for Beth’s optimism to crash. What were your expectations at that point in the story? Why did Cindy hide her emotions?
3. Could you relate to Beth’s challenges? To Cindy’s? Does adversity give rise to strength?
4. The second section, Staying Afloat, shifts to a new normal. Do you agree with Cindy’s decision to let Beth lead the way? How would you describe the ideal role for a parent when a child has a physical disability? Other disabilities?
5. When a goal seems impossible, do you tend to cast it aside or go for it? How can we nurture perseverance in children?
6. In the third section, Breathing Lessons, how does pain impact Cindy’s identity? Is there a connection between physical and mental pain? Why do some of us find mental illness so difficult to admit and talk about?
7. The concept of resilience is a recurring theme. Do you think we are born with a capacity for resilience or is it something we learn?
8. What surprised you the most in the book? What incident best represents Beth’s character? Cindy’s?
9. The last section, Racing Forward, includes happy accidents. Are they really accidents? Is serendipity simply the result of fate? Or is it a matter of perspective?
10. What is your favorite quote in the book?
11. How does the story challenge negative stereotypes of disability and mental illness? Did you learn anything? Is it true that adversity often leads an individual to advocacy?
12. What is your main takeaway of Just Keep Swimming: a crash, a quest, and waves of hope?