Book Club Guide: The Light We Lost

The purpose of our Book Club Guides is to recommend books for your book club and provide guidance for discussion. This book guide focuses on Santopolo’s 2017 novel The Light We Lost.

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Jill Santopolo’s 2017 novel The Light We Lost tells the tale of Lucy and Gabe’s relationship over a thirteen-year span. The story begins when they pair are in college and follows their ups and downs in the ensuing years.

The Light We Lost is also a selection from Reese Witherspoon’s book club, just like Where the Crawdads Sing and The Lying Game.

The purpose of our Book Club Guides is to recommend books for your book club and provide guidance for discussion. This book guide focuses on The Light We Lost.

Book Review: Plot, Pros and Cons

Now, not to give too much away, but look, the book is called The Light We Lost, so you pretty much know what you’re getting into before you crack it open. You’re not on your way to a typical happy ending.

The book begins on September 11, 2001 when Lucy and Gabe are in college. They have an immediate connection that quickly turns into a missed opportunity when an ex of Gabe’s reappears. They end up reconnecting and share a passionate, serious relationship. The couple is torn apart by career decisions, leaving them both heartbroken.

After the breakup, Lucy focuses on her career and begins to move on. Eventually, she meets Darren. The two begin dating and eventually get married and start a family. Despite all this, Gabe continues to pop up in Lucy’s life throughout the years. By the end of the story, Lucy is left with a secret and a heart-wrenching decision to make. 

If romance isn’t your preferred genre, you may not personally love this book. However, no matter your usual style, it’s a great fit for book clubs for several reasons. 

First off, it’s a quick read that’s easy to get through. It’s not very long and the story is interesting, so it keeps you flipping pages. 

Also, the subject matter lends itself very well to discussion. The entire book is about love and life choices.

While the primary focus of the book is Lucy and her romantic partners, it goes far beyond the simple this guy versus that guy. Of course it’s fun to talk about which guy is right for Lucy. (That’s the thing about relationships, isn’t it? It’s so easy to dissect someone else’s.) However, the book goes beyond that. The novel examines the choices people must make all the time. Do we prioritize a relationship or a job? Family or career? What kind of love do we value? It goes even further, though, to examine even more difficult choices, like those Lucy must grapple with at the end of the book.

Discussion Topics

Here are some discussion topics and questions, left intentionally vague for those who haven’t read yet, to get your book club chatting.

  1. This book is billed as a tear-jerker. Did you find yourself breaking out the tissues?
  2. Do you think Lucy made the right choice when she stayed in New York instead of following Gabe? Why or why not?
  3. Who was a better partner for Lucy: Gabe or Darren? Why?
  4. The book presents different kinds of love, like fickle and passionate or stable and practical. Which do you think is more important? Why?
  5. How do you think Lucy feels at the end of the book? What do you think she’ll do next?

In Conclusion

So, if you’re looking for a novel to get your book club into a rousing discussion, try out Santopolo’s The Light We Lost. Love it or hate it, you won’t be able to stop talking about it.

Have you read The Light We Lost? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments!

Happy reading! Cheers!

Book Club Guide The Light We Lost

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