1. Magical thinking both helps Didion cope with her grief and prevents her from engaging with it directly. Select and analyze several instances of magical thinking, and analyze how they affect Didion’s grieving process.

2. How does Didion’s understanding of magical thinking evolve over the course of her book?

3. How does the vortex effect affect Didion’s recovery process? What role does memory play in the memoir?

4. After John’s death, Didion comes to understand the degree to which her identity was shaped by her relationship with John. How does John’s death force Didion to re-evaluate her identity?