1. What makes Silver such an engaging and likable character despite his many flaws and mistakes, his talent for saying and doing the wrong thing at the worst possible time?
2. To what extent were you able to identify with Silver, his sense of failure, of messing everything up and then suffering pangs of regret?
3. One Last Thing Before I Go is both brilliantly funny and deeply moving. What are some of its most hilarious moments? What are some of its most touching scenes?
4. Why does Silver refuse to have the operation that would save his life? Does this decision make a certain kind of sense, given Silver’s life and circumstances, or is he being selfish, as his mother and father claim? How do his friends and family try to convince him that he should keep living?
5. One of the effects of Silver’s mini-strokes is that he can’t censor his speech or clearly recognize when he’s just thinking, or thinking out loud. This creates some wonderfully comic moments, but also some serious ones. In what ways does Silver speaking so directly and truthfully, saying the things that most of us think but edit out, bring him closer to the people he loves? In what instances does it cause embarrassment, or worse? Is there anything enviable about this condition?
6. When Casey asks Jack why he’s so attracted to younger women, Jack replies: “We don’t get to decide who we’re attracted to. Believe me, I wish we did. I’d still be married. And you wouldn’t be pregnant. None of us would be in this mess. I love my wife. I’d give anything to be with her right now. I mean, look at us. We’re intelligent people, but sex has nothing to do with intelligence. It’s impulse and instinct and animal attraction and it’s built into our cells. I know that’s not what they teach you in school right before they hand out the condoms, but that’s what it is. And I’m not saying I like it. It’s a goddamn tragedy is what it is” [p. 162]. Is Jack right about this? In what ways does the novel give us a glimpse-or, rather, a prolonged and probing look-into the male psyche? Do you view the predicament of middle-aged divorced men more sympathetically after reading the novel?
7. After Silver gets his death sentence, he resolves to be a better man and a better father. Does he succeed? In what ways do he and Casey become closer?
8. Why does Ruben, Silver’s father, drag him along to a series of Jewish rituals-a bris, a bar mitzvah, a wedding, and a funeral? What effects do these experiences have on Silver?
9. After an intervention that goes terribly wrong, as Silver’s brother Chuck is about to storm out of the house, Silver asks him, “Where are you going?” Chuck replies, “I don’t know where I’m going. Away from you.” Silver grabs the bottle of kiddish wine and says: “I’ll come with.” What is so surprising about this scene [p. 173-180]?What are some of the novel’s other stunning twists and turns? What is the effect of really not knowing what might happen next?
10. Why does Denise sleep with Silver, even though she’s engaged to Rich? Would it have been a mistake for Denise and Silver to get back together?
11.Why do you think Tropper chooses to leave the novel so open-ended? In what ways does the ending seem fitting? Is it satisfying or frustrating? What do you think Silver’s fate will be?