WARNING: As you might expect this post contains a number of spoilers for Before and After.
You’d be well-advised to go and read the book first. Or, form a book club, inveigle your way into the presidential position and then insist on all the members reading and enjoying Before and After.
If you don’t belong to a book club and you’d like to drink wine and talk too loudly about Before and After then jump into the comments and say your piece, just remember ALL CAPS IS SHOUTING.
What songs did the book make you think of? As a bonus, why not add your own tracks to this collaborative Spotify playlist or just have a listen. Some of the tracks were what I was listening to when I wrote the book (especially Alexandra Streliski, John Moreland and The Gloaming) and others have been suggested by readers and book clubs! Add your own!
What do you think the wraths signify in the book? Do you feel any sense of sympathy for them? What do you think caused the change in the world?
How did the style of the book going back and forth in time change your opinion of what was happening?
What genre category should Before and After be in?
Why did Ben have such a problem with his weight and what would have helped him to change?
What do you think happens next?
Some readers have suggested that Brown was a continuation of Anne (Ben’s mum)’s love for Ben – do you agree? If not what was Brown’s role in the book?
Could you imagine staying inside your house for nine years? How would you pass the time?
What was your favourite quote or passage from the book? Did you highlight any passages as you read?
Would you read other books in this genre?
Can you understand the relationship that Ben has with Helen? Why couldn’t Ben face the prospect of moving to America with her?
Did the book give you an insight into the sort of issues that people of Ben’s size face? In 2016 nearly two billion adults in the world were overweight or obese – what could they get from reading Before and After?
What did you think of the ending? If you could have changed one thing about the book what would you change?
Ben says that he prayed for God to save him and he did – what role do you think religion and faith played in the story?
Who should read this book?
What’s your Bourbon biscuit?