Discussion Questions: Between Two Kingdoms

  1. After her diagnosis, Suleika finds that many people, don’t know how to react or say the “right” thing to a cancer patient. What do you think would have been more helpful for Suleika to hear from these people?
  2. How does Suleika’s writing help her throughout her treatment? How does it hurt her?
  3. The book’s title comes from a Susan Sontag passage: “Everyone who is born holds dual citizenship, in the kingdom of the well and in the kingdom of the sick. Although we all prefer to use only the good passport, sooner or later each of us is obliged, at least for a spell, to identify ourselves as citizens of that other place.”
  4. Have you used your “kingdom of the sick” passport yet? What was it like there, and what did you learn about yourself?
  5. What are the benefits of experiencing this “other” place?
  6. What does Suleika’s breakup with Will represent for her? What does her relationship with Jon come to represent?
  7. Eventually, Suleika realizes that she can’t wait until she’s “well enough” to start living again.What sparks this realization for her? When have you wanted to wait until you were “enough” of something—rich enough, thin enough, well enough?
  8. How can we learn to embrace where we are at present? What do we lose by constantly striving, without satisfaction?
  9. Which of the stops, and people, on Suleika’s road trip stayed with you the most? Why? What did she learn from that particular person? What did you learn?