The Last Thing He Told Me
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I started out with the audio and then also got the hardback. I really enjoyed this story and because I was so interested, I was motivated to move through it quickly. I also enjoyed the chapter titles, such as "Keep Austin Weird" or "Bailey's No Good Very Bad Day". I found this novel to be suspenseful, but not scary. I read somewhere that there is a movie option on it. That doesn't mean it will happen. But, if it did, I'd love to see Matthew McConaughey star as Owen. He is an Austin resident and a lot of this novel happens in Austin, Texas. Additionally, for a fun connection, there is a reference to the Newton gang (Pg. 251) and McConaughey was in a movie called the Newton Boys (funner connection, the Newton boys were from Uvalde and McConaughey is actually from Uvalde).
On a scale of 1 - 5 (5 being a lot of examples/instances):
Sex - none that I recall
Religion - none that I recall
Gruesome - nothing that I recall
Suspense - the entire book is one huge question, where is Owen and what is his past, so this lends a thread of suspense through every page
Morality - Carl habitually cheats on his wife but Owen overlooks it. (Pg. 56-57)
Traditional - a 16 year old offers her step-mother a joint (Pg. 24)
There were at least five instances of Hannah "clocking" something. For example, on page 88, "I clocked his strange behavior..." Similar sentences appear on pgs. 188, 201 and 302. I understand the use of the word in this context, I just think it is an unusual usage and to appear so many times, it became a distraction. On the other hand, it could be viewed as something that makes Hannah uniquely Hannah. There are a few words that my mom always used to say, such as "dither", and whenever I hear it now (rare as it may be), I think of her.
I was confused by Jules. Maybe the details were in there and I missed it, very possibly in an audio portion. Jules and Hannah were friends in high school on the east coast. But Jules, like Hannah, lives in Salsalito now. Jules said she couldn't say she missed Jake, the lawyer from New York and Hannah's ex-fiance. How did Jules get to California? Did she just follow Hannah around from relationship to relationship - how convenient.
What did you think Jules meant when she said it was all her fault? (Pg. 28)
With her mom's departure, Hannah learned that the unusual is an obvious clue. (Pg. 42-43)
What clues have you missed or caught in your life?
When Hannah moved into Bailey's floating house, she changed very little (bedroom and porch).
What are your tips for making transitions easy? (Pg. 47)
Did you wonder why U.S. Marshall Grady Bradford was based out of Texas area code 512 when the fraud was in California? (Pg. 49) What did you think when Grady told Hannah the best thing she could do for Own was to get a lawyer and lie low? (Pg. 54)
What were your theories as you read through the story? Did you wonder if Olivia was alive somewhere?
What did you think when Owen told Hannah he drove to Taos in college and she questioned him about driving from New Jersey? (Pg. 78)
Why wasn't Hannah Googling things, such as the area code and the UT colors, instead of making phone calls to find out?
Hannah often repeated her grandfather's advice, such as on Pg. 161. What was your favorite piece of advice?
Is there anyone from your life who you often quote?
After Hannah called Grady from Austin, did you believe Jake that Owen had changed identity or Grady that he erased it because that's what his software does? Did you start to suspect that changing his own identity was Owen's motivation for creating the software in the first place?
Did Owen choose Hannah because she had no family?
Why did Charlie say Owen ended his (Charlie's) mom's life? (Pg. 249)
Was it coincidence that one of Hannah's tables was in Nicholas' house? (Pg. 265)
Nicholas said, "it's not all that different from working for a tobacco company". (Pg. 270) Do you agree?
Do you share Hannah's philosophy of love? Do you believe she knew "the pieces and parts that matter most" of Owen to keep loving him? (Pg. 276)
What would you choose, considering Owen's wish to "protect her"? What is more protective - WITSEC with Owen or safe without Owen? What kind of protection - physical or emotional? Should Bailey get to choose?
What was Owen's history - was he raised by his parents or was he very influenced by his grandpa? (Hannah's mom left so she was raised by grandpa. Kate's dad didn't want the bar but she and Charlie took over from grandpa.)
What one thing defines you? (Pg. 296)
Were you satisfied with the ending? Did Hannah make the right choice?
Take a trip to Austin. Include:
Antone's, 305 S. 5th Street (Pg. 102)
the hotel was on Ladybird Lake, near the Congress Avenue bridge, across from the heart of the city, perhaps the Hyatt Regency or Embassy Suites by Hilton Austin Downtown South Congress (Pg. 97)
Magnolia Cafe, 1920 S. Congress Ave (Pg. 146)
the bat flight
multi-grain linguini in brown butter sauce like Hannah was cooking for Bailey before they realized Owen was gone (Pg. 16)
Coke and Diet Coke, like they drank on the plane (Pg. 96) Use short plastic cups, like on an airplane.
clam chowder, like they talked about getting in Carmel (Pg. 102)
roasted chicken and chocolate souffles, like Belle had to have delivered (Pg. 110)
dim sum with pork buns, like they had (Eight Months Ago) when they celebrated Hannah's 40th in Berkeley (Pg. 139)
gingerbread pancakes with bananas on the side, like they ate at midnight at the Magnolia Cafe (Pg. 146)
the house specialty, a bourbon old-fashioned (Pg. 201)
Pad Thai because Owen could live on it (Pg. 245)
Coconut Curry and 10-layer chocolate cake, like Owen could make (Pg. 246)
"bourbon Good Luck charms" - lemon and spearmint (Pg. 262) like Owen drank "Two Years Ago"
pasta, because Bailey eats a lot of it, such as the "delicious Italian rendition of Cacio e Pepe" (Pg. 263)
the theme song from "Friends", because Hannah watched "Friends" on the plane (Pg. 95)
John Lee Hooker, like Owen's album they remembered when they saw Antone's (Pg. 102)