|Prepared by Sian Packard
Aimee by Mary Beth Miller
Why else might the narrator call her psychiatrist Marge besides her reason that "it seems to fit her?"
How could the narrator benefit from writing in her journal about her experience? Why would it be therapeutic for her? How is writing about an experience different from talking about an experience?
Why does the narrator relate her experience of the trial to the gang's obsession with zombie and horror movies?
Describe the gang's relationships with their parents. Does this seem believable? Why or why not?
How does Chard handle his mom's shopaholic patterns?
What does the narrator say that hints about her deeper feelings for Chard?
Aimee says that she can figure her (the narrator) out, unlike the other members of the gang. What has Aimee figured out?
Does the narrator agree with her? Do you agree with Aimee? Why or why not?
What does Marge do that earns the narrator's respect?
Why is this so important to her?
What has she been carrying around in her duffel bag?
Where do the girls go on their walk? What do they do for fun?
What dangerous thing does Aimee do? Why does she do this?
What is Aimee's response to the death of the rabbit?
What happens when Aimee is confronted about her reckless behavior?
How does the narrator describe Marge?
Describe dinnertime at the narrator's home.
What is her parents' rationalization for reading her journal?
Why doesn't she own any pets?
What memory makes the narrator break down during her appointment with Marge?
What is happening at school?
What does JK stand for? Does this seem like an appropriate nickname?
Why or Why not?
What has happened to Kyle?
Compare what Marge and her daughter do together on a free afternoon to what the narrator and her mother do together in their free time.
How does the narrator punish herself?
P. 32- 33
How could Aimee's "accident-prone behavior" be a warning sign to her suicide?
How does Chard rescue the narrator?
Why is the narrator avoiding the new girl?
What is the narrator's history with Aimee?
Describe their relationship.
How does the narrator get what she wants from her mom?
How does this and their shopping trip reflect their relationship?
Why does the narrator say, "she'd be free to pursue her career and not have to come home to my sad-sack face every day?"
What does her dad believe about the narrator's situation?
Does he seem more supportive?
What is the narrator's reaction when Chard calls her JK?
Describe Aimee's family.
What was their involvement with the church?
What does Aimee's mom do at the funeral?
If Aimee's mother had taken her away, do you think she still would have committed suicide?
Where was the narrator during the funeral?
How many days of the week does she now have therapy?
How does Marge surprise the narrator during this session?
What memory is prompted by her swinging?
Why is her dad angry?
The narrator says, "I don't want their help. I won't take their help. And they don't offer it." What might her reaction be if they did offer her help?
Could her parents think that they have been helping her?
What does she mean when she says she didn't do Aimee any good?
What does the narrator admit that Aimee was right about?
What new character is introduced?
How did her mom and dad handle her past track events?
What is the name of the girl that she's been avoiding?
Why might the narrator be both interested in and repulsed by a friendship with this girl?
Why is the narrator talking about dying and heaven?
What are The Lies?
What happens with Chard?
What does he say when it's over?
What's her reaction?
What is Aimee not afraid of?
Who does Aimee ask to the Sadie Hawkins dance?
What does the narrator consider ironic about her mother?
What happens the first time the narrator goes to Aimee's house?
What game do the girls play when they're sleeping on the floor?
Who has written the narrator a note?
Why does she write it?
What conversation does the narrator eavesdrop on?
What does she learn?
Why does she want to "tick off" her mom more?
What does the narrator and Chard talk about during their phone conversation?
How does she feel after their conversation?
What does the gang do?
What do Chard, Jason, Kyle, and Kates want to be when they grow up?
What is Aimee's response to growing up?
What do we learn about Hope?
How does the narrator react to Hope's questions about Aimee?
How do things end between them? What will they do?
Why can't she walk away from Hope?
Who follows the narrator?
What does the coach invite her to do?
What do the narrator and her mom talk about on their shopping excursion?
How does she feel when she's in the car with her mom?
What flashes into her head? Why?
What does the narrator discover on the computer document files?
How does it make her feel?
What observation does the narrator make about her grandpa and mom?
How is this "what it's like at Aimee's house?"
Why does the narrator mention Hope to Marge (especially since she's hardly said anything in her sessions)?
How does Marge view the narrator?
What is the difference between a survivor and a true liver?
Why do people commit suicide, according to Marge?
Why do suicidal people talk so much about death?
What then happens to the narrator?
Why did she pass out?
Why does she think her dad has been gone so much?
What is Marge's opinion of the narrator's anorexia?
What do Marge and Mom disagree about?
Who shows up at the hospital?
What was Aimee right about?
What does Chard leave for her? Does she eat it?
What shocking thing does Mom do?
What is Chard's version of the story?
What is the narrator's good memory?
Why does she share this memory?
Why else might she jump when her mom hugs her?
Would things have changed if she had reacted differently?
What has happened in Aimee's life?
What message do you suppose Aimee is writing on her back?
Who sent her a card while she's in the hospital?
What does her mom think about it?
Why does she never want to see Hope again?
What does Marge give her to read?
Why might Marge want the narrator to talk about her relationship with Chard?
What is her view of the books Marge gave her?
What does the narrator hope her dad will do after he finds the cartoon?
What happens when she returns to school?
What did Aimee and the narrator used to read together?
What attention does she receive from the track coach?
What happens when Aimee and the narrator help Kates babysit?
Who ends up taking control of the situation? Why?
What is going on between Hope and the narrator?
How are her sessions going with Marge?
What observations does she make about her dad when she visits him at his new place?
Why does she think he keeps coming into her room?
What extra help is Dad getting for her?
What memory of Aimee does this evoke?
How does the gang handle what happens to Aimee?
What happens when Marge confronts the narrator?
Why is the narrator sweating?
What does she say about the night of Aimee's suicide?
What does she say about Chard?
What does she accuse the adults of? Is she right?
What does she believe about Aimee?
How does Mom want to change the narrator?
What is Dad's role in the narrator's life?
Describe what the narrator does in Mom's room.
How does she feel while she's doing this?
Which special items of Mom's does she find?
What are her thoughts about Aimee and herself now?
Why is her Dad crying?
How does Mom treat her when she finds out what the narrator did in her room and that the narrator had her letters?
What did her mother do to cause her similar pain?
How does the narrator's dad react to her being in jail?
Did her mom do the best thing for her?
Why does she run?
Who does she meet?
Who overhears their conversation?
Why does she care about Hope?
Why has Mom taken the narrator's "memories" of Aimee?
How does the narrator react?
Where does she go?
What happens on Chard's fifth visit?
What plans do they talk about?
Why does she need him to say that he knows she didn't kill Aimee?
Why does he need her to say that she didn't kill Aimee?
Why can't she say it?
How does Chard's visit end?
What was the "little thing that kept Aimee going"? Why?
Why does Aimee want to talk about her dead cat?
"Smoking is soothing, and maybe you'll learn the habit someday. Later. After." What hint is Aimee dropping?
Why hasn't Aimee asked an adult for help?
What other suicidal ideation does Aimee express?
Is the narrator's mom willing to help? Why?
How does the gang try to save Aimee?
When the narrator asks Mom if Aimee can spend the night, what does Mom say?
How did Mom help out during the trial?
Where does Mom sit on the way home from the trial?
Whose hand is she holding?
Who's playing the flute?
What do they talk about?
Why does the narrator shudder when she looks in Hope's eyes?
Where do they go?
Why isn't Hope in school?
How does Hope act when they are in her bedroom?
Why is she angry with her father?
What does Hope tell her mom about why the narrator isn't in school?
Is Hope good at lying?
Does Hope think that Marge is a good name for their psychologist?
How does Hope make progress at her therapy sessions?
Why does Hope want to know the details of Aimee's suicide?
Why isn't Hope's situation like Aimee's situation?
For whom does the narrator stay for lunch? Why?
How does lunch end?
What's happened to Kyle?
What does she hear in Chard's pauses on the answering machine message?
Instead of going home, where does the narrator decide to go? Why?
Why does she worry about telling Marge?
According to Marge, how is this time with Hope unlike the last time with Aimee?
Where does the narrator go?
Who is her "companion for the night"?
How was Aimee acting the night of her suicide when the narrator arrives?
Who is Aimee going to the Homecoming dance with?
Why does she keep talking about Chard to the narrator?
What happens after Aimee showers?
When does the narrator realize that Aimee is acting out her suicide plan?
What does the narrator find in the bathroom when Aimee asks her to go get the bottle on the sink?
How does she gash her foot?
Why can't she call any one for help after she realizes that Aimee is dying?
When does she think she makes the wrong choice in trying to help Aimee?
What does she do as Aimee is dying?
Where had Aimee hidden the phone?
Who wakes up the narrator?
What were some of the things she thinks she could have done to prevent or delay Aimee's suicide?
What was her "blind spot" with Aimee?
How was her blind spot a problem, especially that night?
What has the narrator gotten from Aimee's suicide?
How does Aimee use Chard against the narrator?
Why can't she stay angry at Aimee?
Why didn't she think that Aimee would commit suicide?
Why does she call Chard?
What does she want him to say? Why?
What is her name?
What do Chard's parents admit they should have done?
What does Zoe decide to do with the cat?
Who finds her?
What has Marge done about Hope and her family?
What does Zoe decide to do with her journal?
Will Zoe keep coming to her appointments with Marge?
Why won't she come as often?
What does Mom give back to Zoe?
What does Zoe apologize for?
What does Mom admit about Aimee?
Why was Mom so worried when Zoe ran away?
What does Zoe decide to name the cat?
Does her mother allow her to see Chard?
How is she like her mom?
What's next for Zoe?
Post-Reading Discussion/ Writing Topics
Why isn't this book called Zoe?
Go through the novel and trace the steps of Aimee's suicide? What warning signs did Aimee show?
Why did Aimee need Zoe to be there for her suicide?
How does Zoe's voice change from the beginning of the story to the end of the story?
Why don't we learn what the narrator's name is until the end of the book?
When did you first realize that you didn't know her name?
How would the story be different if we knew what her name was?
On page 5, Zoe talks about how the gang likes to watch zombie and horror movies and that they even created their own set. How is this a foreshadowing to Aimee's demise?
Zoe describes pets as being "dirty, smelly, vile creatures. . . " What makes her change her mind? How does this make her understand Aimee more?
Was Zoe too hard on her parents? Did she have realistic expectations of them?
Would Zoe be better off if she had attended the funeral?
Why doesn't Zoe tell her story chronologically?
On p. 114, Zoe tell us that "Everything ended with Aimee, just as everything started with Aimee." What does she mean by this?
Compare and contrast the families of Zoe and Hope.
Many times Zoe shares what she should have done. What are some of those "should-haves"?
How would it have been for Zoe if she had not moved away from her friends? Would they still be friends? Discuss what her first day back at school after the trial would have been like.
Aimee keeps telling Zoe that she's all about Chard. Is Zoe all about Chard? Explain.
Discuss the significance of the characters names in the story (Aimee, Zoe, Hope).
Why does Zoe not think to call anyone for help the night of Aimee's suicide?
"I think of my name and how it's been Aimee I've had in my head for so long and how she's gone or diminished now. But I am not her and she is not me." Zoe says this after Chard speaks her name. What has Zoe finally realized?
Zoe tells Chard that "I didn't help her live, either" (p. 260). How could Zoe and her friends have helped Aimee to live?
Research Jack Kevorkian.
Research suicide prevention programs in your area.
Research the warning signs of suicide.
Prepared by Sian Packard
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