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By Mary Perrine


Discussion Questions



Simplified, culture is defined as the way of life of a particular group of people at a particular time. This includes, but is not limited to…arts, beliefs, customs, foods, dress, language, manners, rituals, etc.

  1. Why did Bella criticize the foods Lou and Maggie made before she tried them?

  2. Why do people tend to judge the things others do as wrong rather than different? What would happen if people saw all traditions and cultures as different rather than wrong?



As a society, people can have faith in a higher being, other people, or things. 

  1. Bella and Tilly both suffered tremendously in their lives. Why did Bella lose faith in God when Tilly did not?

  2. Have you ever lost faith in someone or something? Did your faith return? Explain.



Individuals who lived through the Great Depression tend to be “savers”. To this day, they waste little and take almost nothing for granted. 

  1. If you had not known Tilly lived through this time period, what clues might have given it away?

  2. Are you a saver or a tosser? What has made you the way you are?



It is believed that life passes before your eyes before your death. Because of that, death brings your life into focus: all the things you wish you had done and all those you wish you hadn’t.

  1. When Bella received her terminal diagnosis, she began counting the days she had left. Later on, she began seeing them as an opportunity to make memories for others. What brought about this change?

  2. What is something you do for others that brings you great joy?



The more people experience, the more they learn.  

  1. Tilly’s goal was to help Bella experience as much as possible in the year she had left. Why did Tilly choose to be part of each activity? (i.e. modeling nude, karaoke, etc.)  

  2. What is something on your bucket list? What are you waiting for? Who is someone in your life who would be willing to experience it with you?



The average life expectancy in the US is just under 80 years.

  1. No one is ever ready for death—especially a 23-year-old. What caused Bella’s acceptance of her death sentence? Who was responsible for that acceptance?

  2. Have you ever known someone with a terminal disease? Did that person fight or accept their fate? Why do you believe they acted as they did? 



While people are taught much from their family, many of life’s lessons are learned the hard way.

  1. What are some of the lessons Bella learned from Tilly? Did Tilly learn anything from Bella?

  2. What is something you learned from your family? What is something you learned through experience? Which lesson impacted you the most? Explain. 



There is an old adage you likely learned in life — ‘Tis better to give than receive. 

  1. Bella gave Tilly several gifts. Which do you think was the most meaningful? Why? Why was Tilly’s gift of a camera the perfect gift for Bella—even though she wouldn’t be around to see the photos after her death?

  2. Have you ever given a gift that made you incredibly happy? Why did it bring you such joy?



Humans often nurture anger and frustration instead of letting it go and accepting the situation for what it is - over. 

  1. Tilly accepted Maggie like neither her father nor her mother would. Why do you think that is? What is it about Tilly that made her love Maggie rather than harbor anger?

  2. What is an anger you held onto for a very long time? Did you ever let it go? How did it make you feel once you released it? How has it benefited you?



In any given situation, people know the truth from their perspective. They can’t always see or accept the other person’s side of the story.

  1. In Outside the Lines, Jasmine didn’t learn her mother’s truth until after Tilly’s death. Why do you think Jasmine believed her father’s truth for so long? Why did Tilly give up trying to help her daughter understand her father was lying?

  2. Have you ever hidden a truth from someone? Explain. How did it impact others? What impact did it have on you?


When people are angry and frustrated, they tend to curl up and hide rather than move on and try to live outside the lines - finding the positives. On a scale of 1-10 (10 = always), how do you rate yourself in living outside the lines when hit with adversity?


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