1. “The label caught on my fingernail: ‘John lewis: hand wash only.’ John Lewis was a reliable upmarket shop, Mother’s favourite. I hadn’t known they had branches in Japan.” – Is Elvira a reliable narrator?

2. What did you think of Elvira and Mother’s relationship? Does Elvira’s opinion of Mother differ to yours?

3. Discuss Elvira’s Rules. Were there any you think you would benefit from following yourself?

4. Mother used to say Sylvia was kind but common. – How would you describe Sylvia?

5. ‘I’m not surprised, you know, dear,’ she said. ‘About the stroke. If ever there was a woman driven to one, it was your mother.’ – Did you have sympathy for Mother and her life before the stroke?

6. Who was the better parent – Mother or Father?

7. In what way are Elvira’s difficulties universal ones?

8. Do you have to be ‘normal’ to be happy?