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Book Club Discussion Questions


Questions for Book Discussion for Struck by Living

  1. In some of her speeches, Hersh explains that the white writing at the top of the book cover is text taken from an early version of the book. Why do you think she inserted this on the cover? She explains a dual meaning for the image on the cover and the title. After reading the book, does the title and image have new meaning for you? What does it mean?
  2. Some people have reacted to the doctor scene with confusion. To them the scene seems to have too much power and they don’t believe the scene should be included in the book. What do you think, cut or keep? Why?
  3. If you were a director casting the Struck by Living movie, who would play Julie, Ken, LaTisha, Dr. Galen, Dr. Yvonne and the three friends: Miriam, Roxanne and Tara.
  4. Is Ken a saint or part of the reason why Julie became depressed? What impact do spouses have on our mental health?
  5. Hersh does not sugarcoat motherhood. Did you find her thoughts foreign or did her description resonate with your experience? Discuss.
  6. Do you think Hersh could have done something to avoid her experience? What would that be?
  7. Why is LaTisha such a comforting character? What qualities could we emulate in our every day lives to live with more compassion toward others?
  8. At the end of Chapter 23, Hersh ends with the line “Come pick me up,” I told him. “I’m cured.” Do you think Hersh is cured? Why or why not?
  9. In the Chapter “The Calvary Arrives” Hersh talks about her good friends intervening to help her. Do you have friends with whom you would take these same actions? Would you continue to persist even when a friend pushes you away?
  10. Hersh begins Chapter 25 “Relapse” with the line “I wanted my story to end on the mountaintop.” Why did Hersh go off medication? Do you know of someone who has done this? Do you believe that some people really need medicine to maintain mental health?
  11. What do you wish your friends knew about you? What incident from your past would help your friends understand you?
  12. What experiences in your life have shaped your current attitudes about yourself?
  13. Do you think you suffer from depression? If so, what are the warning signs your friends should watch in your behavior
  14. Julie often mentions her Struck by Living Top 10 in her talks. These are the top things she does to maintain mental health. What are the things that keep you well? How do you take care of yourself?
  15. Do you know where to call in your community to get assistance for yourself or others?

Testimonial

"Julie Hersh has bravely recounted her experiences with suicidality and depression. Her story is profound yet poetic. Julie's narrative provides a much-needed patient-centered perspective to those who care for the mentally ill. Her passion for communicating the devastating effects of depression and suicidality to others is a powerful tool in the war against the social stigma experienced by those who live with suicidal thoughts, those who have made suicide attempts, and those who have survived the suicide of a loved one."

Jane Mahoney
Jane Mahoney, PhD, RN, PMHCNS-BC, Director of Nursing Practice and Research,The Menninger Clinic: Assistant Professor, Menninger Department of Psychiatry, Baylor College of MedicineHouston, TX
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About Struck By Living

In Struck by Living, Julie Hersh picks apart the irony of her life with humor and brutal honesty. Despite a loving husband, healthy children, financial security, Julie attempted suicide three times. With the help of ECT (electroconvulsive therapy), Julie broke the deadly course of her disorder. Now well, Julie promotes the importance of mental health with collaborations with other artists and organizations.

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