1. The Measure of the Moon explores what people hide from others. Do you think there are also parts of ourselves that we cannot fully know? How often might hidden shame or hidden information hinder people? What guides our decisions to continue concealing or to reveal things we have been hiding? 2. What similarities exist between Greer and Gillian’s stories? In addition to the more obvious parallels, do you find softer echoes between the characters and their situations? What are the strongest contrasts between the two stories? 3. Greer was a happy child with strong family support. Imagine an unhappy child with poor family support who is faced with Greer’s cataclysmic threat in the first chapter. How different might the outcome be? 4. Adults who were deeply traumatized as children can be profoundly affected in their relationships and other areas of life. Discuss the childhood traumas experienced by characters in The Measure of the Moon, and the different coping methods various characters use to deal with their issues. How successful have these methods been? 5. Is the more marked link between the two stories a person, or is it the act committed by Alexandru during World War II that is repeated in the present by a character in Greer’s story? What do you think of the adage that history repeats itself or that we can be condemned to repeat it? 6. How have Gillian and Becky’s reactions to their childhood with severely alcoholic parents differed? In what ways have they recovered or not recovered from their past pain? Have you known an adult who was profoundly affected by childhood trauma? How difficult is it to put yourself in the place of a person who has suffered a completely different life situation? 7. The Istoks experienced and witnessed gross hardship and prejudice, yet Alex carried, and still harbors, prejudice toward a persecuted people. What role does insecurity play in fostering poor adaptation? How often do the bullied become bullies? 8. When Paul first sees the photo of the orphans, he notices something familiar in their faces, but stops himself from articulating what he recognizes. What do you think he noticed? Why do you think he didn’t tell Gillian what he saw?
9. In The Measure of the Moon, relationships are explored in hardship and in happier times, in childhood and adulthood, in both the Greer and the Gillian stories. Consider the interaction between siblings in both stories and how those relationships endured and changed over time. Which characters resonate the most with you? 10. Gillian experiences inner conflict due to the past and the present, wants and needs. What is at the heart of her feelings for Paul? For Kevin? How different would her story be if she chose differently? 11. Why do you think Caroline wanted to confront the woman who left Greer? How was she affected by the confrontation? What limits do you think the human desire for the satisfaction of expressing ourselves should have? 12. Discuss the disparity in the last chapter between the law enforcement version of events and what Maddie guesses actually happened. What do you think of her choice? Could you not reveal that sort of information in a similar situation?