Discussion Questions for Leaving November
1. In Leaving November, Vienne Kenney has escaped the hometown where she always felt second-class because of her father’s alcoholism. She’s sought to become “somebody” by getting a law degree.
Have you ever sought validation by striving for material things to make you feel worthy? A degree or title? A bigger home or fancier car? A prestigious address or a lucrative occupation? If so, have these things accomplished what you hoped they would, and given you a sense of worthiness? If not, why do you think that is? What happens to the temporary sense of worth such things can give when they are suddenly taken away from us the way Vienne’s future in law was when she failed the bar exam for the second time?
2. Jackson Linder comes home from nine months in rehab, still struggling with his desire for a drink. Have you ever suffered from an addiction that held you in its grip for months or years after you stopped the addictive behavior? Maybe you’re struggling with an addiction or a bad habit right now. How do you continue to have hope in the face of ongoing temptation? What have you found that helps you in your struggle? If you’ve overcome a past addiction or bad habit, what secrets can you share with those still struggling?
3. While she felt humiliated about failing the bar two times, Vienne comes to realize that she really isn’t cut out to be a lawyer. Her reasons for seeking a law degree had nothing to do with the way God had gifted her or with God’s leading in her life. Instead it was all about trying to find self-worth.
How do you feel about Vienne “wasting” her law degree? Have you ever sought after something, only to realize once you attained it, that it wasn’t what you wanted after all? How did you deal with that realization? Is it possible Vienne’s education wasn’t wasted after all, in spite of that fact that she’s now running a coffee shop? Explain.
4. As Vienne becomes friends with Jack, she almost doesn’t realize that she is falling in love with him. Have you had a similar experience? If so, what did you find to be the pros and cons of falling in love with someone who was a friend before they were a romantic interest? How did your story end?