Can't Wait To Get To Heaven ~ Book Club Discussion Questions
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Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven
Questions for Discussion
When Aunt Elner falls out of her fig tree, she embarks upon a journey she never
could have anticipated. Describe Elner’s surprising view of heaven. How does it
compare with your own idea of the afterlife, or the conceptions held by various
world cultures and religions? On a personal note, what do you hope is waiting for
you on the other side of the pearly gates?
Elmwood Springs is a tightly knit community in which everyone seems to know
his neighbor’s business. For the Warrens, what are some of the benefits of living
in a small town? On the other hand, what are some of the drawbacks? How
does your own hometown compare with Elmood Springs? Would you ever wish
to move into Elner’s quirky neighborhood? Why or why not?
Describe Norma and Macky’s relationship, and how their marriage grows
throughout the course of the novel. What bumps in the road have the Warrens
endured? What keeps their marriage strong?
On her ascent to heaven, Elner climbs a crystal staircase; meanwhile, Ernest
Koontz drives up to destiny in a brand new Cadillac convertible with heated
seats. Consider your own wildest fantasy about heaven; how would you choose
to arrive in style?
Norma and Tot’s long-standing friendship is challenged by Tot’s persistent
negativity. Do you, like Aunt Elner, naturally embrace a positive outlook on life?
Or, like Norma, do you strive, day by day, to “replace a negative thought with a
positive”? Or, like Tot, do you prefer to “tell it like it is”? How does Norma
choose to handle her differences with Tot? And how do the two friends manage
to reconcile in the end?
For Elner, meeting her hero, Thomas Edison, is a dream come true. Which
figures from history would top your own list of people you’d like to meet in
What message does Raymond impart to Elner about the meaning of life, and
how does this view compare with your own beliefs?
If heaven allowed you to re-experience an episode, a place, or a time from your
past, like Aunt Elner’s trip fifty years back in time to Neighbor Dorothy’s on First
Avenue North, what scene or event would you choose to revisit, and why?
Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven is as much a mystery as a comedy. Do you think
Elner truly died and went to heaven? What do members of Elner’s family
believe? Next, just what is the truth behind the strange golf shoe? And what
about Ida’s hidden family Bible? Finally, discuss the mystery of Elner’s loaded
gun; were you surprised at the truth behind the mystery?
Reading Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven is like taking an antidote to the almost
constant stream of bad news that surrounds us in our modern world. Tot voices
something we all feel: “I always try to put on a happy face, but it’s getting harder
and harder to keep up a good attitude…..Nostradamus, CNN, all the papers,
according to them, we are on the brink of total annihilation at any second.” How
did this novel make you feel about the state of the world today?
Elner touched the lives of many people in her community, from the ambitious
journalist Cathy Calvert, to the troubled, misunderstood Luther Griggs, to the
reformed lawyer Winston Sprague. How does Elner relate to so many different
personalities? Describe Elner’s character and attitude toward people,
problems, and life. Do you know anyone who shares Elner’s sensibility and
talents for reaching out to others?
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