Cracks in the Sidewalk Book Discussion Questions

Cracks in the Sidewalk is a story of family relationships – Mother/Daughter, Wife/Husband, Parent-Grandparent/Child – which of those relationships could you most relate to?

What aspect of that relationship touched you most?

In this book each character tells their side of the story in their own voice – do you think that enriched the story and helped you to better understand the character’s behavior?

Claire is the protagonist in this story, if you were faced with the same set of circumstances, what would you have done differently?

In the early part of the story when Elizabeth married Jeffrey – do you think he was genuinely in love with her or did you see it as a marriage of opportunity?

When Elizabeth was diagnosed with the brain tumor, did you find the medical descriptions of what was occurring believable?

Jeffrey seemed uninvolved when it came to Elizabeth’s pregnancies, what do you think was the reason for his behavior?

When Jeffrey’s business was failing and his father-in-law refused to lend him any more money, do you think that refusal was justified? Or should Charlie have given him the money for Elizabeth’s sake? Do you think if Charlie gave him the money it would have changed the outcome of events?

Once Elizabeth was diagnosed as terminal, did you see Jeffrey’s refusal to allow her to return to their house as a spiteful way of getting back at Charlie? Or did you think he simply couldn’t deal with the reality of her dying?

Given Jeffrey’s contemptible behavior, do you think Claire was justified in hitting the door with a sledgehammer? What would you have done?

Was Claire right in spending her time at the hospital with Elizabeth, or should she have made more of an effort to convince Jeffrey to have her babysit the children? Had she done this, do you think he would have allowed her to be the children’s caregiver?

Why do think Elizabeth continued to hope that she and Jeffrey would get back together again?

After Elizabeth’s death, Claire withdrew into a world of misery that not even Charlie could penetrate, how would you have reacted in this situation?

After Claire began helping out in the Sunday School, she found a piece of herself that she had lost – did you understand what that piece was?

During the years when Claire saved the returned cards and presents she had for the children, do you think she did so because she believed she would see the children again, or was it simply her way of filling the void of their absence?

In some states Grandparents still do not have a legal right to see their grandchildren- decisions regarding visitation are left up to the child/children’s parent or guardian. Do you think grandparents should have the right to visit their grandchildren regardless of parental preference?

After Charlie’s death, Claire discovered the children she had tended and loved during those lost years were more than passing through, they were the family she never realized she had – do you think that people caught up in grief often fail to see their many blessings?

When the children were reunited with their Grandmother, why do you think only the oldest boy had feeling of anger toward Claire?

If you could change the ending of this story, how would you written it?

Cracks in the Sidewalk was based on a true story, what parts of the book do you believe to be true and what parts fictionalized?

After reading the book did you see this as an inspirational story of how Claire found her way through life by helping others, or did you see it as a sad story of the years she lost being with her own grandchildren?