Reconstructing Natalie, Women of Faith Series #13Reconstructing Natalie, Women of Faith Series #13
Laura Jensen Walker
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Interview, Excerpt

Think YOU'RE self-conscious about your lack of cleavage? Natalie Moore is about to lose what little cleavage she has. And that's just the beginning. She'll shave her head, leave her church, fall for a man in scrubs, learn to tap, and flash a roomful of women. Reconstructing Natalie is the story of a woman whose breast cancer is the catalyst for some serious changes not the least of which is her cup size! Holding tight to her old friends while reaching out to new ones, Natalie must redefine herself and her faith on new terms.


 Reconstructing Natalie Discussion Questions: by Laura Jensen Walker


1. Reconstructing Natalie begins with "I’m obsessed with breasts." Natalie Moore isn’t a vain woman, she’s a casual girl-next-door type, but her diagnosis of breast cancer has her focusing on some body parts she never paid that much attention to before. Are you obsessed with some part of your body? And if so, which part and why?



2. Natalie is only 27-years-old when she’s diagnosed with breast cancer. Do you think her age and the fact that she isn’t married make that frightening diagnosis—that no woman ever wants to hear—even more difficult?



3. Do you think a diagnosis of breast cancer would be easier for a married woman in her 50’s or 60’s to hear?



4. Merritt and Jillian, Natalie’s two best friends, throw her a “Boob Voyage” party the night before her mastectomy. Have any of your friends ever done something fun and silly like that to help take your mind off a difficult or frightening situation? Would you do something similar for a friend?



5. After her surgery, Natalie is dependent on her friends and family to do things for her—many things she’s accustomed to doing herself. And Merritt demonstrates unconditional love and friendship to Natalie by helping give her a bath and shampooing her hair. Would you do something that intimate for a friend?



6. Some people pull away from or abandon Natalie once she tells them she has breast cancer (like Jack, especially, but Jillian initially, out of fear, although she comes around.) Have you ever had a friend leave or abandon you when the going got tough?



7. Natalie makes the choice to have a ‘prophylactic’ mastectomy (her healthy breast removed as a preventive measure) so that she won’t have to live in fear of her cancer recurring in the non-cancerous breast. Did that seem like a drastic step to you? Would you consider taking such a step if you had a similar diagnosis?



8. Some people at Natalie’s church say thoughtless things to her when she’s first diagnosed. Do you think they were being mean, or just clueless?



9. Have you ever had someone at church or work say something insensitive to you when you were going through a trying time?



10. In the breast cancer support group, Natalie meets and befriends a group of women—all very different from one another, who have this disease in common. Have you ever found yourself becoming friends with someone so different than you as a result of one shared experience? What lesson might there be in this?



11. Natalie's cancer and treatment compels her to re-think her life and make major changes as a result. Has your life ever done a similar about-face due to a major life-changing event?



12. Andy, Natalie’s neighbor and best male friend, is a rock for her throughout her treatment and yet, by the end of the book, their relationship has changed and grown into something deeper. Do you think it’s possible for a man and woman to become close friends without becoming romantically involved? Have you?



13. Jane is a kind and loving example of someone whose faith sustains her through even the darkest hours. Do you have that same kind of faith, and would it provide you comfort and hope if you found yourself in a situation similar to Jane’s?






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