Three Things About Elsie

A Novel

Three Things About Elsie

The bestselling author of The Trouble with Goats and Sheep delivers a suspenseful and emotionally satisfying novel “infused with warmth and humor” (People) about a lifelong friendship, a devastating secret, and the small acts of kindness that bring people together.

There are three things you should know about Elsie. The first thing is that she’s my best friend. The second is that she always knows what to say to make me feel better. And the third thing…might take a bit more explaining.

Eighty-four-year-old Florence has fallen in her flat at Cherry Tree Home for the Elderly. As she waits to be rescued, she thinks about her friend Elsie and wonders if a terrible secret from their past is about to come to light. If the charming new resident is who he claims to be, why does he look exactly like a man who died sixty years ago?

From the acclaimed, bestselling author of The Trouble with Goats and Sheep, Three Things About Elsie “breathes with suspense, providing along the way piercing, poetic descriptions, countless tiny mysteries, and breathtaking little reveals…a rich portrait of old age and friendship stretched over a fascinating frame” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review). This is an “amusing and heartbreaking” (Publishers Weekly) story about forever friends on the twisting path of life who come to understand how the fine threads of humanity connect us all.
  • Scribner | 
  • 384 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781501187384 | 
  • August 2018
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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Three Things About Elsie includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.

Introduction

Eighty-four-year-old Florence has fallen in her flat at Cherry Tree Home for the Elderly. As she waits to be rescued, she thinks about her best friend, Elsie, and wonders if a terrible secret from their past is about to come to light. If the charming new resident is who he claims to be, why does he look exactly like a man who died sixty years ago?

Topics and Questions for Discussion

1. Why do you think author Joanna Cannon decided to set the novel in a nursing home?

2. On page 63, Florence says, “I needed someone to hold my worrying for me.” How does Elsie play this role for her?

3. The act of naming and renaming things is a recurring theme in the novel. Why do you think this is significant?

4. Did Florence’s failing memory change your understanding of events at Cherry Tree? Does it make her a less reliable narrator? Why or why not?

5. “Simon wondered where his life ended and their life began, and how we could all be stitched so tightly together, yet the threads between everybody sti see more

More Books from this Author

The Trouble with Goats and Sheep

About the Author

Joanna Cannon
Photograph by Philippa Gedge

Joanna Cannon

Joanna Cannon is a psychiatrist with a degree from Leicester Medical School. She lives in England’s Peak District with her family and her dog. She is the author of Three Things About Elsie and The Trouble with Goats and Sheep, a top ten bestseller in the UK.

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