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For Discussion: 1. Erin's discoveries led her to question her family stories. Do you feel that family stories are likely to be historically inaccurate? If so, why do you think that is? 2. Did your impression of Wieslaw Skowronski's change? Was your opinion about his family (Marta and Helen) different as the book progressed? 3. Why do you think Erin was so passionate about finding out the truth of what happened to her mom? Do you believe she would have acted with the same drive if her mom hadn't been diagnosed with cancer? 4. Why do you think Erin didn't tell Wieslaw about her mother's illness and death? What do you think would have occurred differently if she had told him the truth? 5. Erin points out that young Polish people are fascinated with Jewish culture. Do you think that exists in American culture for a mainstream group to be curious about an outside group of some kind? 6. What do you think was the most interesting discovery Erin made? 7. When Helen asks about Jews eating blood-filled cake, Krys is more offended than Erin is. Why do you think Krys took more offense? 8. The experience Erin had in Sweden with Fannie couldn't have been more different than her experience with Wieslaw. Why do you think they differed so much? 9. How did you feel about Wieslaw's reaction to Erin's mother's death? Was it rude? 10. Erin's last experience with Wieslaw changed her opinion about wanting to live in Poland. Why do you think that moment affected her so much? 11. Frequently it turns out that commonly accepted family history turns out to be family myth. Why do you think this is? Has this happened to you? 12. How would you have reacted if you were in Erin's situation? Would you have continued to spend money, time, and energy on the children of the woman who saved your mother's life? Why or why not? 13. How long does a family debt last? What sacrifices are necessary?
Erin Einhorn is a reporter for the New York Daily News where she's covered New York City's government and the nation's largest public school system. She has written for the Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News, and Fortune. A contributor to public radio's This American Life, Einhorn and her story were the basis for one of the show's most popular episodes. She lives in New York City.