Sliding Doors meets Life After Life in Sarah Adlakha's story about a wife and mother who is given the chance to start over at the risk of losing everything she loves.
A second chance is the last thing she wants.
When thirty-nine year old Maria Forssmann wakes up in her seventeen-year-old body, she doesn’t know how she got there. All she does know is she has to get back: to her home in Bienville, Mississippi, to her job as a successful psychiatrist and, most importantly, to her husband, daughters, and unborn son.
But she also knows that, in only a few weeks, a devastating tragedy will strike her husband, a tragedy that will lead to their meeting each other.
Can she change time and still keep what it’s given her?
Exploring the responsibilities love lays on us, the complicated burdens of motherhood, and the rippling impact of our choices, She Wouldn't Change a Thing is a dazzling debut from a bright new voice.
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|Publisher:||Tor Publishing Group|
|File size:||7 MB|
About the Author
Sarah Adlakha is a native of Chicago who now lives along the Mississippi Gulf Coast with her husband, three daughters, two horses, and one dog. She started writing fiction shortly after retiring from her psychiatry practice. Her debut novel, She Wouldn’t Change a Thing, was a CNN most anticipated book of 2021. Midnight on the Marne is her second novel.
Reading Group Guide
1. Protecting children is at the heart of Maria’s story. What portraits of motherhood emerge throughout her journey?
2. Re-read the book’s epigraph by the French theologian Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. How would communities change if humans saw themselves as spiritual beings?
3. In the novel’s opening scenes, we watch Maria struggle to manage a harried life, yet she rejects Will’s suggestions that she work less or hire someone to help around the house, even though they could afford it. Have you ever found yourself in a similar state? How did you manage it? How does Maria’s perception of time evolve over the course of the novel?
4. Imagine that you woke up as your 17-year-old self. What would be the best and worst thing about returning to those days?
5. What were your initial theories about Rachel? Which aspects of the truth surprised you the most?
6. In her session with Maria in chapter two, Sylvia reflects on her guilt and says, “It’s important to always do the right thing, even if you have to suffer the consequences.” What does She Wouldn’t Change a Thing ultimately say about destiny versus decision making, and the process of discerning our purpose?
7. Compare Maria and Will’s relationship to Jenny and Hank’s. What do the novel’s partnerships show us about love, sacrifice, and true compatibility?
8. What is the effect of the fact that Maria was a teenager in the 1980s? What are the limitations and the benefits of the pre-digital age?
9. What’s your interpretation of the novel’s title?
10. In chapter 31, Maria considers all of her options, without any guarantees that she can relive her previous life. Her fourth option is to save Beth but lose her family. What would you have chosen? If you knew you could revisit a previous chapter in your family history and save someone’s life, whose life would you want to save? What price would you be willing to pay in order to save them?
11. As you read the last paragraph of the epilogue, how did you react? What does that scene illustrate about the cycles of life across generations?
12. One of the challenges faced by the time-traveling characters is how to convince people to believe their warnings. How would you have responded to predictions from someone like Sylvia? Do you believe in guardian angels or premonitions?