While My Sister Sleeps

By Barbara Delinsky
Binding:Hardcover
Publisher:Doubleday, (2/17/2009)
Language:English



Average Rating:
Mildly Unleashable
2.00 out of 5 (1 Clubie's ratings)


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Following the success of The Secret Between Us, a book the Boston Globe hailed as “one of her best,” Barbara Delinsky returns with another moving and deeply satisfying novel, this one about the unique and emotionally complex world of siblings.

Molly and Robin Snow are sisters, and like all sisters they share a deep bond that sustains them through good times and bad. Their careers are flourishing—Molly is a horticulturist and Robin is a world-class runner—and they are in the prime of their lives. So when Molly receives the news that Robin has suffered a massive heart attack, she couldn’t be more shocked. At the hospital, the Snow family receives a grim prognosis: Robin may never regain consciousness.

As Robin’s parents and siblings struggle to cope, the complex nature of their relationship is put to the ultimate test. Molly has always lived in Robin’s shadow and her feelings for her have run the gamut, from love to resentment and back. The last time they spoke, they argued. But now there is so much more at stake. Molly’s parents fold under the devastating circumstances, and her brother retreats into the cool reserve that is shattering his own family. It’s up to Molly to make the tough decisions, and she soon makes discoveries that destroy some of her most cherished beliefs about the sister she thought she knew.

Once again New York Times bestselling author Barbara Delinsky brings us a masterful family portrait, filled with thought-provoking ideas about the nature of life itself, how emotions affect the decisions we make, and how letting go can be the hardest thing to do and the greatest expression of love all at the same time.

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AndyM's thoughts on "While My Sister Sleeps"
updated on:4/1/2009

this book,for me was depressing. I finished it, but it was very sad and reminded me of when my grandpa was on life support...do not reccommend unless you like this sort of thing.

Mildly Unleashable


"While My Sister Sleeps"
By Barbara Delinsky

Average Rating:
Mildly Unleashable
2.00 out of 5 (1 Clubie's ratings)


The Gentleman
The Gentleman
By Forrest Leo

 
 
 General reading guide discussion questions to be used with ANY book your book club or reading group might be discussing.
 
 

reader's guide

1. How would you characterize the relationship among Robin, Molly, and Chris? Does Chris play a different role because he is a son? How does the Snow family compare to yours?

2. How is Molly transformed during the week after Robin's heart attack? What does Molly discover about herself and about the range of emotions she and her sister evoked in each other?

3. What is at the root of Kathryn's controlling behavior? How did her past, including her experience with her own parents and her art teacher, influence her personality? Who has more power in the marriage: Kathryn or Charlie?

4. Discuss Snow Hill and what it means to Molly's family. What makes the Snows good at nurturing plants but not as good at nurturing one another? What kinds of healing does Molly experience through her work at Snow Hill?

5. What do Charlie's religious beliefs say about him and about the differences between him and the other members of his family?

6. As parents, what family memories do Chris and Erin create for their daughter, Chloe? How does their approach to parenting compare to Charlie and Kathryn's?

7. How does Alexis's illness shape the novel's storyline? What parallels exist between her situation and Kathryn's state of denial?

8. How much is Nick entitled to know, as a reporter and as a friend of Robin's? Is Robin entitled to less privacy because she is a public figure, with a wide circle of fans who are concerned about her?

9. What determines whether Liz will be a threat to Chris's marriage? How is Liz's role in the novel different from Peter's? How much does the past matter in a marriage, especially events that took place before the wedding?

10. What was it like to read Robin's journal after hearing so much about her? Captured in her own words, how does her life compare to other people's impressions of her?

11. What does Kathryn have to do in order to let go? What does it take to help her see the truth about her circumstances—and Robin's?

12. How is Marjorie's family affected by her dementia? What do the connections among Marjorie, Kathryn, and Molly show us about mothers and daughters? What traits, emotional and otherwise, are passed from one generation to the next in While My Sister Sleeps?

13. Why is David willing to look out for Alexis? What makes him such a caring teacher? What makes him such a tough opponent against Nick?

14. Ultimately, what legacy does Robin leave for her family? What intangible gifts does Molly inherit from her sister?

15. Discuss the medical issues raised by Robin's story. Is it unethical to keep a child from knowing the identity of his or
her biological parents? How would you have handled the end-of-life-care questions raised by Robin's heart attack?

16. How do secrets affect the characters in While My Sister Sleeps and in Barbara Delinsky's other novels? When is it best to let a secret remain hidden? When is it best to reveal the truth?

Clubie Submitted Discussion Questions
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From Publishers Weekly
Delinsky flounders on her latest, a chronicle of how a family deals with a tragedy that befalls its favorite daughter. An Olympic marathon contender, self-centered Robin Snow often rubs her younger sister, Molly, the wrong way. After many years in her sister's shadow, Molly takes out her resentment with petty actions, such as refusing to accompany Robin on a run. Fatefully, Robin has a heart attack while training and falls into a coma. As Robin's condition fails to improve, Delinsky digs tediously into the family's woes: Molly's touchy relationship with Robin's ambitious reporter ex-boyfriend; middle son Chris's dealings with a would-be blackmailer; mother Kathryn's trouble coming to terms with Robin's dire prognosis. Delinsky litters the narrative with momentum-crippling scene-setting minutiae, and the Snow family, while theatrically intense in their interactions, make for flat characters. Delinsky is adept as portraying angst, but her story would have greatly benefited from a tighter telling and more complex characters. (Feb.) 
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. 

Review
PRAISE FOR WHILE MY SISTER SLEEPS

From LIBRARY JOURNAL 

Molly Snow isn't worried when she gets a phone call notifying her that her sister is in the ER. A world-class runner, 32-year-old Robin Snow has had many injuries, and Molly arrives at the hospital expecting nothing worse than an ankle sprain. But Robin has had a massive heart attack while running, and the prognosis is not good. As the devastated Snow family holds a bedside vigil, they learn things about Robin that alternately surprise and distress them. Graced by characters readers will come to care about, this is that rare book that deserves to have the phrase "impossible to put down" attached to it. Delinsky (The Secret Between Us) does a wonderful and realistic job portraying family dynamics; the relationship between Molly and Robin, in particular, is spot-on. This touching and heartbreaking novel is highly recommended for public libraries where women's fiction is popular. Readers of Kristin Hannah and Patricia Gaffney will enjoy it.

From BOOKLIST

The Snow family faces a devastating crisis when oldest daughter Robin, a runner training for the Olympics, suffers a catastrophic heart attack. Molly, Robin’s younger sister, gets the call from the hospital and is immediately guilt-stricken: she was supposed to accompany Robin on her run. When Molly, her older brother, Chris, and her parents, Kathryn and Charlie, gather at the hospital, they learn that Robin is in a coma and might be brain dead. While Kathryn refuses to believe the worst, Molly reaches out to David, the handsome teacher who found Robin after the heart attack, and tries to determine whether Nick, a charming reporter who once dated Robin briefly, is truly concerned about the family or just pursuing a big story. The Snows try to come to grips with the reality that Robin might never wake up, and Molly, attempting to discern what Robin would want, stumbles across R... --This text refers to the Kindle Edition edition. 

Review
PRAISE FOR WHILE MY SISTER SLEEPS

From LIBRARY JOURNAL 

Molly Snow isn't worried when she gets a phone call notifying her that her sister is in the ER. A world-class runner, 32-year-old Robin Snow has had many injuries, and Molly arrives at the hospital expecting nothing worse than an ankle sprain. But Robin has had a massive heart attack while running, and the prognosis is not good. As the devastated Snow family holds a bedside vigil, they learn things about Robin that alternately surprise and distress them. Graced by characters readers will come to care about, this is that rare book that deserves to have the phrase "impossible to put down" attached to it. Delinsky (The Secret Between Us) does a wonderful and realistic job portraying family dynamics; the relationship between Molly and Robin, in particular, is spot-on. This touching and heartbreaking novel is highly recommended for public libraries where women's fiction is popular. Readers of Kristin Hannah and Patricia Gaffney will enjoy it.

From BOOKLIST

The Snow family faces a devastating crisis when oldest daughter Robin, a runner training for the Olympics, suffers a catastrophic heart attack. Molly, Robin’s younger sister, gets the call from the hospital and is immediately guilt-stricken: she was supposed to accompany Robin on her run. When Molly, her older brother, Chris, and her parents, Kathryn and Charlie, gather at the hospital, they learn that Robin is in a coma and might be brain dead. While Kathryn refuses to believe the worst, Molly reaches out to David, the handsome teacher who found Robin after the heart attack, and tries to determine whether Nick, a charming reporter who once dated Robin briefly, is truly concerned about the family or just pursuing a big story. The Snows try to come to grips with the reality that Robin might never wake up, and Molly, attempting to discern what Robin would want, stumbles across Robin’s diaries and learns some startling family secrets... Delinsky’s popularity should ensure demand for this engaging exploration of every family’s worst nightmare.


PRAISE FOR BARBARA DELINSKY’S PREVIOUS NOVELS

“Engrossing reading.” —People

Family Tree is warm, rich, textured and impossible to put down.” —Nora Roberts

“Absorbing, unpredictable storytelling—a winning combination.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

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Barbara Delinsky is a New York Times bestselling author with over thirty million copies of her books in print. She lives with her family in New England.


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