When We Were Sisters – Reading Guide

1-Robin is unhappy with the hours her husband, Kris, puts in at his law firm and his lack of involvement with their family. Did you feel she had a reason to be upset and to force him to spend more time with their children by leaving him in charge?

2–Cecilia seems to have everything, fame, money, beauty, yet her nightmares and panic attacks say differently. Did Cecilia’s plan to attack her problems seem to fit the kind of woman she is?

3–Can facing and revealing old secrets begin a healing process? Was facing their mutual past the best way for Robin and Cecilia to move into the future? Have you had a similar experience in your own life?

4–Cecilia and Robin met in foster care. How many of the problems they encountered were due to the foster care system and how many were due to the dysfunctional families they were born into?

5–The documentary, At the Mercy of Strangers, highlights both good and bad foster parent programs and placements. Do you have first hand knowledge of the foster care system as either a former foster child, a parent or interested professional or citizen? What are your own thoughts about changes that might need to be made?

6–At the Mercy of Strangers shows the interworkings of a particularly good program in Tennessee with small group homes and caring house parents. What is the ideal foster care model?

7–Hayley, a foster child whom Cecilia immediately connects with, does her best to be certain nobody will love her. She claims it’s easier than waiting to be rejected. Do you know children and adults who operate on the same assumption? Will unqualified love solve her problems, or will she need more?

8–Kris’s attitude toward his job slowly changes as he is forced to be home with his children. Robin’s confidence in her abilities as a photographer grows as the documentary progresses. Can two professionals find ways to be involved, devoted parents despite work pressures? What are the most essential factors to achieving success?

9–Cecilia often avoids the truth and tells lies without guilt. Were you able to empathize with her reasons? Was she a sympathetic character?

10–Robin let both Kris and Cecilia steer the course of her life, but now she is making her own way. Was her part in the drama of her adolescence believable and sympathetic? Will both women recover and move on?