Book Club Guide

Book lovers who like to lose themselves in a good memoir—or whose cats walk across their laps while they are reading—will enjoy Home with Henry. Consider reading it with your club.

Here are some questions to get your discussion started.

  • Anne kept the stray, feral cat that she picked up in the road. Why do you think she brought Henry home to live with her?
  • Home with Henry touches on many themes including identity, family, and living a rich life as a single woman. What other themes do you see in the memoir?
  • Why do you think Henry hid under the bed for so long?
  • Anne’s nephew Tommy plays a big part in the memoir. What about him makes the boy so important to her? Talk about the ways in which your family members are important to you.
  • Most women of Anne’s generation, who grew up in the 1950s and early 1960s, expected to marry—and certainly expected to marry before they settled into a permanent home. How much do you think times have changed?
  •  “When I rolled a walnut for Henry to chase, he practically hopped across the rug, springing up with his back legs and coming down to a full stop on his front paws. He batted the walnut around like a hockey puck.” What can you tell about Anne from her interactions with her cat? If you know a cat well, how would you describe him or her?
  • How did you react to Lucille’s death?
  • The memoir is structured as a diary—so Anne doesn’t know what will happen next as the story unfolds. How does this structure affect your reading experience?
  • The book is full of images of closed and open doors, gated communities, and open places—such as the river. What do you think is the significance of these images?
  • “I went out into the garden and walked over to him,  though the ivy hid his face. I began to think he had no intention of leaving, just liked sitting there. Nevertheless, in the old Catholic way, I lifted up my hand and gave him a blessing to keep him safe, in case he decided to go.”  What do you think is really going on in this climatic scene?
  • How did Anne’s relationship with Henry help her to get used to living in her new home?