This reading group guide for Lost December 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.
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When Luke Crisp graduates from Wharton with his MBA, his father, CEO and founder of Fortune 500 Crisp’s Copy Centers, is excited to finally turn the company over to his son. But Luke decides he’d rather travel and live a life of luxury with his friends, and begins lavishly spending his way through Europe. However, when his trust fund runs out sooner than expected, his friends disappear along with it, and Luke is left alone and broke. Too ashamed to go back to his father, Luke works menial jobs, including one at one of his father’s copy centers. There he starts to fall for a guarded single mother and begins to understand the greatest source of personal joy.
Topics & Questions for Discussion
1. Are you familiar with the parable of the prodigal son? If so, how did it influence your reading of the book? If not, are you now inclined to read the story in the New Testament that inspired Lost December
2. Do you believe there are two sides to every story, as Luke’s English teacher says in Chapter One? Or are some situations truly black and white?
3. Was it wrong for Luke’s father to expect him to take over the company, especially when he originally encouraged him to go explore other options in life? Is Luke right that he should enjoy his life more, and not feel tied down to work?
4. Why is Luke so drawn to Sean, even when he knows he is a bad influence? Why does he continue to trust him and lend him money, even when Sean begins acting suspiciously?
5. Candace initially seems more sensible than Luke, warning him that Sean is a bad influence, yet she ends up ultimately leaving Luke when he needs her most. Why does Candace leave Luke? Do you believe her when she says she’s not a "gold digger"?
6. What does Sean represent? Do you know any "Seans"? What does he mean when he says he has a "cardboard soul"?
7. Sean and Marshall are incredibly selfish individuals. Do you believe such people deserve the same forgiveness and second chance Luke receives? Do you think Luke should have paid Sean’s gambling debt, or did he deserve to be left to his debtors?
8. After Luke is robbed and beaten, he begins to understand the "downward spiral of homelessness" (p. 118) for the first time in his life. Did his situation shed a new light on homelessness for you??
9. Do you agree with Luke’s father’s adage, "The world only offers you what you don’t need"? (p. 122) Why or why not? ?
10. Why does Luke feel the need to get an entry-level job and prove himself at Crisps? Have you ever reached a similar crossroads? ?
11. Why does Luke believe Henry when he says Luke’s father has disowned him? Why does it take Luke so long to swallow his pride and return to his father? Is pride a vice or a virtue? Can it be both?
12. Do you see any other allusions to Biblical parables or lessons in this story?
13. Insightful quotes from Luke’s diary begin each chapter. How do these quotes influence or prelude your reading of the chapter? Did one in particular stand out to you?
14. Luke’s mother, Candace, and Rachael influence Luke’s perspective on the world. Discuss the role of women in Lost December
. What does Luke learn from these women?
15. After hurting his father so badly and being completely irresponsible, do you think Luke deserves what he got? Were you surprised by the ending?
Enhance Your Book Club?
1. Luke spends a few nights on the streets and witnesses the harsh reality of homelessness firsthand. What would you do if you suddenly had no money and no place to stay? Volunteer with your book club at a local homeless shelter or soup kitchen to help the less fortunate.?
2. Richard Paul Evans began his writing career with a Christmas story he wrote for his children. Try your hand at writing a short story for a friend or family member. A modern retelling of a familiar tale or parable (like Lost December
) might be a fun place to start! Consider sharing your short story with your book club. ?
3. Luke, Rachael and Chris make Christmas cookies and deliver them to friends and neighbors. Make cookies with your book group and take some to those who might need holiday cheer.