1. Saffron alternately refers to California and Africa as “going
home.” Discuss the concept of home as presented in the book. How does
Saffron’s idea of home differ from that of her friends in L.A.?
2. Why do you think Saffron joined the class at the Pump Station? Is
her membership there out of character?
3. Saffron makes costly and painful errors of judgment throughout the
story. Given her track record, do you feel confident in her decision to
trust Joseph? Why or why not?
4. Saffron feels that she has sold out by not talking honestly with
Alice in criticizing the extravagance of their Pump Station friends. Why
can’t she relate to Alice, whose experience most closely resembles her
own? Do you think this is dishonest or unkind?
5. What does Saffron learn from Anika’s friendship? Do you think
Anika learns anything from Saffron?
6. Monique tells Saffron that she will be a good mother because “we
bounce off our pasts.” Where do you see this concept at work in the
book? How does it apply to Francis, for instance?
7. Why do you think Saffron is unable to see some of the obvious
signs that Francis and Blue are leading her astray? Were you fooled by
Francis? Why or why not?
8. What do you think of Oscar? Does he love Saffron? Was Saffron in
love with him?
9. When Saffron sees a picture of Nancy’s husband, Stan, for the
first time, she is struck by his unattractiveness and marvels at how
Nancy can moon over him as she does. What do you think of her response
to the picture–and to her friends’ relationships in general? Do you
think she judges them fairly? Why or why not?
10. Do you feel that Saffron is a reliable narrator? Considering that
her first version of the story she told her friends included the false
detail of Oscar’s death, are there other details you think she may still
be withholding or editing for her audience?
11. What do you consider to be Saffron’s biggest mistake?
12. What do you think of Heaven? Was she a good mother to Saffron? Is
there anything she should have done differently to protect her adopted
13. Would Saffron be a more compelling heroine if she made smarter
choices? Do you like her? Why or why not?
Maria Lennon is a graduate of London School of Economics. She
traveled and worked in Europe where she started writing her first novel.
She now lives in California with her husband and three children.