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Discussion Guide

Lost in the Reflecting Pool: A Memoir

By Diane Pomerantz

2017 Readers’ Favorite Award Winner. When Diane, a psychologist, falls in love with Charles, a charming and brilliant psychiatrist, there is laughter and flowers―and also darkness. After moving through infertility treatments and the trials of the adoption process as a united front, the couple is ultimately successful in creating a family. As time goes on, however, Charles becomes increasingly critical and controlling, and Diane begins to feel barraged and battered. When she is diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer, Charles is initially there for her, but his attentiveness quickly vanishes and is replaced by withdrawal, anger, and unfathomable sadism. What Diane previously thought were just Charles' controlling ways are replaced by clear pathologic narcissism and emotional abuse that turns venomous at the very hour of her greatest need. A memoir and a psychological love story that is at times tender and at times horrifying, Lost in the Reflecting Pool is a chronicle of one woman's struggle to survive within―and ultimately break free of―a relationship with a man incapable of caring about anyone beyond himself.

This discussion guide and Indie Author Corner book was shared and sponsored in partnership with Dartfrog books.

 

Discussion Questions

Use these discussion questions to guide your next book club meeting.

The title, Lost in the Reflecting Pool, is based on the myth of Echo and Narcissus from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. While Narcissus is overly self-absorbed, Echo is overly other-absorbed: she has lost her voice, only able to repeat the words she hears. Have you ever lost your voice in a relationship? What was your response to Diane’s difficulty using her voice? Why?
In so many areas of our lives, we often see things unfolding that seem wrong or feel bad, but we put on blinders. It took Diane’s facing a terminal illness and confrontation with death to finally look at and trust what she had felt for years. Have you had any life experiences where you “saw” but ignored, where you failed to question what you felt in your gut? Why? What were the consequences - good? Bad?
Lost in the Reflecting Pool begins with an emotionally difficult prologue describing an event that occurs midway through Diana's marriage to Charles. When they move into their new home with their two young children, Charles becomes increasingly bothered by the cat of the previous owners, who returns nightly. Diane is horrified when Charles eventually grabs the cat, leaves, and kills it, but she pushes it from her mind. She “knows” it happened but never thinks of it again, until she is ill and Charles is becoming increasingly sadistic and cruel. Then suddenly in her own therapy, she remembers the terror she felt for herself and for her children. Did learning about this "terror" shift your thinking about how Diane responded in her relationship with Charles? How so?