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Reading Group Guide

    Trainwreck: My Life as an Idoit
    Jeff Nichols

    Questions and Topics For Discussion

    1. “I have overcome very little to accomplish nothing” (page 1). Do you agree or disagree with the author’s description of himself? What do you think is the author’s greatest accomplishment? What is his greatest flaw?
    2. What were the four reasons that led Jeff to Alcoholics Anonymous? Which drug does he consider the most dangerous and why?
    3. Despite all the author’s flaws, is he a likeable character? Can you relate to any of his experiences? What are his good qualities?
    4. Why do New Balance sneakers paralyze Jeff? What other phobias does he have?
    5. “I suppose fishing satisfies some hunter-gatherer instinct in me” (page 103). Discuss the author’s relationship with fishing and how it has affected his life.
    6. Why do you think the author wrote this book? Do you think he is trying to shine a light on learning disabilities and addictions?
    7. Jeff visits several mental health professionals. Do any of them help him? What do you think is at the root of the author’s problems?
    8. What is the lesson in the yellow shirt story? Which of his stories do you find the most shocking? 
    9. What is Jeff’s view of Ritalin? What is your opinion about the prescription of this drug?
    10. In the aftermath of the house fire, Jeff notes that he became “detached from the situation, an observer instead of a participant.” How did this event affect Jeff?
    11. “I am not really sure whether I am an alcoholic” (page 189). What do you think—is Jeff an alcoholic or does he simply use AA as a support group for his other issues?
    12. Did you find this book offensive, funny, or both? After reading the book, do you want to see the film?

    Tips to Enhance Your Book Club

    Catch a Film: Once you’ve read the book, rent the film and discuss how it compared with the memoir.

    Catch a Cause: Organize your group to volunteer with a local organization that works with the learning disabled.

    Catch a Big One: Book a fishing charter with the author at:

About the Author

Jeff Nichols
Photo Credit: Jeff Nichols

Jeff Nichols

Jeff Nichols is a stand-up comic and charter fisherman. His writing has appeared in the New York Post and Penthouse. He lives in New York City.