In Five Years

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This was a quick read. As someone who has had premonition dreams - the premise was very intriguing to me. It was actually on my personal reading list so I was extra glad when it was a book club pick. I listened to audio and also read some of the eBook and hard back.

On a scale of 1 - 5 (5 being a lot of examples/instances):

Sex: 2

Religion: 1

Gruesome: 1

Suspense: 1

Morality: 2

Traditional: 2

Sex - A brief hookup (Ch. 3, pg. 29) and again at end of novel (Ch. 41, pg. 246) Minor details between a long-time couple. (Ch. 10) Discussion of lingerie and sex between a long-time couple. (Ch. 25)

Religion - a character was pregnant "once before" (implies abortion) (Ch. 15, pg. 107)

Gruesome - some vomiting

Suspense - I was curious how it would all work out but nothing that kept me turning pages other than a legitimate enjoyment of the story

Morality - Unmarried (unprotected) sex results in a trip to the drugstore where the cashier smiles at them because they're old enough that this is a blessing - not curse. (Ch. 15, pg. 108)

Traditional - A brief reference to a gay couple with a child. (Ch. 11, Pg. 77) There is a brief reference to not swinging straight and a girl says, "I'm not straight" and another character says, "Yeah, but your boyfriend is." (Ch. 14, pg. 98) Nothing ever comes of it and I wonder if they are just trying to check a box enough times so they can say this is a gay-friendly book - like in the '80's when movies tried to have a certain number of curse words so they could get an "R" rating. There is another reference to the gay couple in Ch. 25. Dannie hoped she'd go home from a party with a co-worker she'd been flirting with. (Ch. 34, pg. 212)

Overall the story moves along at a good pace but there were a few times it felt forced. We'd had a good introduction to the Bella/Dannie friendship and then, suddenly, in chapters 13 and 14 we get inundated with reminders of the 25 year friendship that seems like it is really trying to sell the friendship which I already believed in and did't need to be sold on. On the other hand, we got all the hints and signs that a couple is breaking up yet they continue to plan a wedding - like at the end of Ch. 25 when the girl observes that he is looking at her, "as if he's already gone" (pg. 169) and then we got wedding details in Ch. 26 and in Ch. 31 she goes dress shopping.

Discussion Questions

Dannie lives by numbers and has ideal numbers/ages for many life stages (engagement - 28, marriage - 30, dating before moving in - 24 months). (Ch. 1, Pg. 1) For what life stages do you have ideal numbers?

What did you think was happening with Dannie and Aaron in Ch. 3?

Dannie says, "Sometimes you have to sacrifice to achieve your dreams." (Ch. 6, Pg. 43) Bella thinks, "Sacrifice is in direct opposition to manifestation. If you want your dreams you should look for abundance, not scarcity." (Ch. 6, Pg. 44) Do you think achievement of dreams requires abundance or scarcity?

Have you ever dreamed someone and then met them? Did you tell them?

Do Dannie and Bella make sense as friends? Could Dannie have told Bella about the dream?

Was it significant that Dannie continued to call him Aaron even when he was introduced to her as Greg? There is only one time she refers to him as Greg, when she is speaking to a group of people in Ch. 40. (pg. 232) What does this change indicate?

Were you surprised by the end of Ch. 18 pregnancy/health revelation?

Do you believe in premonitions? Have you ever had one? Did you believe in Dannie's? Always or did you change your mind throughout the novel? If you changed your mind, when?

Why does Bella buy the eye chart print "I WAS YOUNG I NEEDED THE MONEY" (Ch. 26, pg. 175) for Dannie?

What does it signify?

Aaron says love doesn't have "to have a future in order to matter... . It's the only thing that does not need to become at all. It matters only insofar as it exists. Here. Now. Love doesn't require a future." (Ch. 28, pg. 183) Do you agree?

Dannie is mad at Jill because she accessorizes like it still matters. (Ch. 38, pg. 232) Does it bother you when people are overdressed or under-dressed for situations?

Dannie realizes that her premonition was grief, not love. (Ch. 41, pg. 247) Having sex in the midst of grief is a common theme in movies. Often it happens at the beginning of the story and sets up the primary conflict.

How do you feel about the sex-in-grief premise?

Were you satisfied with the ending? Does Dannie wind up with the right guy?

Theme Ideas


  • With sunflowers, Bella's favorite (Ch. 24)

  • With a tissue box with clouds on it like the Uber driver had (Ch. 26, pg. 173)