Synopsis & Book Club Questions
On a beautiful spring morning in early May, Diane wakes up from a nightmare only to find her beautiful 16-year old daughter, Callie, lying dead on the floor of her bedroom. The police find a suicide note in Callie’s jewelry chest and Diane’s whole world, as she had previously known it, falls apart.
Diane begins a desperate search for answers tearing apart Callie’s bedroom looking for something, anything that might tell her what sent her daughter over the edge. Callie finds herself jerked up into a swirling black tunnel until she bursts into the light and lands in an emerald-green meadow. She meets her great grandma, Ellie, who tells her that she’s in a part of heaven called Summer Wind and can never return home again.
Callie struggles with her abrupt and impulsive decision to take her own life and witnesses the impact that this event has on all who love her. She starts contacting Diane in her dreams and finally convinces her that she’s not really dead. Diane’s concludes that these experiences aren’t wishful thinking and that Callie isn’t a fragment her tortured, overwrought and guilt-ridden imagination. Desperate to learn more, Diane visits Joy, a spiritual healer, who tells her that she must learn to seek the gift in her experiences rather than remaining addicted to her pain.
The rambunctious Callie starts getting into trouble in heaven. She decides to escape the lessons she’s learning by jumping into some poor drunk person’s body just to get that buzz one more time. Her guardian angel, Seraphiel, banishes her to a crystal cave to discover meaning in the words, “Wherever you go, you’ll be there.”
On a trip to Hawaii, Diane encounters a mother dolphin carrying a dead baby across her back and struggling against the ocean waves to return it to the sea. She realizes her only option is to also surrender to the experience, let her daughter go and move on with her life, knowing that Callie will always be a part of her. She releases her guilt finally understanding that everyone is on their own individual path of destiny.
Book Club Questions
1.How did you experience The Dreaming Road? Did you find the novel difficult emotionally to read and if so why?
2.Was the shift back and forth between Callie and Diane’s perspective effective or did you find it disconcerting?
3.Are there any passages in the novel that were particularly meaningful for you?
4.Did Callie’s description of the afterlife in Summer Wind seem plausible to you?
5.Did the characters of Diane and Callie seem believable and real? Were you able to emphasize with their situation?
6.Have your views about the ability of people to connect with their loved ones after they have passed on changed after reading The Dreaming Road?
7.How much do you believe that an individual’s actions are free will choice as compared to destiny?
8.How does The Dreaming Road make climbing a mountain a metaphor for life?
9.Did you have any important insights into how to help a family member or friend cope with the suicide of a loved one after reading this novel?
10.Was the ending of The Dreaming Road effective for you? Do you think it’s possible for someone to find peace after the loss of a child through suicide?
11.What was your most important “take away” from the novel?
12.If you could ask the author one question, what would it be?