Summer Reading Series: Two Years, No Rain Discussion Questions

flower summer seriesHello Summer Readers!

Our August Summer Reading Series selection is Two Years, No Rain by Shawn Klomparens.  Shawn will be popping in to answer any questions you might have, so leave your questions in the comments.  Here is a synopsis of the book, and following are discussion questions that I’ve dreamed up. Please feel free to leave your answers here, or add your own questions.

cover

An earnest journey from heartache to heartthrob and all the emotions along the way; at once an old-fashioned love story and a cautionary tale of self-reinvention.

In San Diego County, it hasn’t rained in 580 days. But for weatherman Andy Dunne, everything else is changing fast…Only a few weeks ago, he was a newly divorced, slightly overweight meteorologist for an obscure satellite radio station, hiding his secret love for a colleague, the beautiful—and very much married—Hillary Hsing. But nearly overnight, Andy has landed a new gig, flying a magic carpet in a bizarre live-action children’s TV show. So what is affable, basically decent Andy Dunne going to do now that he can do practically anything he wants? With a parade of hot moms begging for his autograph and a family that needs his help more than ever, Andy has a lot of choices. First, though, there’s this thing with Hillary, their heated text messages, a long-awaited forecast for rain – and a few other surprises he never saw coming… 

SO READERS- let’s get the discussion started! These are just a few questions to get you thinking- you don’t have to answer them all. Please feel free to respond to each others answers, too.

1.  The book opens on the day Andy’s wife is moving out of their house.  His wife has cheated on him repeatedly, yet he feels the divorce is his fault.  Is it?

2.  What kind of husband was Andy?  What kind of brother/brother in law/friend/uncle is he?

3.   Is an emotional affair as damaging to a relationship as a real (physical) affair?  

4.  Some reviewers have referred to this book as “dude-lit”, or chick lit with a guy as the main character. Would you agree?  What was this like as a reading experience? 

5.  What factors are instrumental in pulling Andy out of his funk, both emotionally and professionally?  (i.e. working out, encouragement from friends, having Hannah around, etc.)  What kinds of things help to pull you out of a rut?

6.  Andy’s new job on Andy’s Magic Carpet gives him a measure of fame that he is unaccustomed to.  What did he learn about himself as a result?

7.  What role do the Jasons (Andy’s twin and Hill’s husband) play in the book for Andy?

8.  Did you find the characters likeable?  Who did you like the most?  The least?

9.  Did you enjoy the weather metaphors in Two Years, No Rain?

We can’t wait to hear your thoughts on Two Years, No Rain! PLEASE try to avoid major plot spoilers in the comments, for people who haven’t yet read the book.  If your comment is spoiler-ish, put the word SPOILER first before leaving your comment!

These summer book discussions have been so fun!  You can check out our earlier discussions for Beach Trip in June and All We Ever Wanted Was Everything in July.

Thanks for reading along with us this summer! xoxo, Lisa and Mari


52 Responses

  1. I think an emotional affair can be at least as damaging as a physical affair. It seems that you invest more of yourself in an emotional affair.

    • I tend to agree, but crossing that line (into the physical) seems like a true breach of the marital ‘contract’. The emotional type seems wrong too, but more understandable to me (perhaps because I spend a great deal of time talking with “friends” I’ve never even met here on the internet!). Don’t we all need someone to connect with?

      • I think emotional is just as damaging, if not more so, then the physical. I would be devastated if my husband had a “friendship” like the one between Andy and Hillary. The emotional connection between two people is so much more powerful then the physical one.
        I appreciate that Shawn didn’t have Andy and Hillary cross the physical line until later in the story.

  2. I just wanted to say that I enjoyed reading the book, but it has faded more than I expected given that I read it last Thursday. I don’t know if that is my cold or something about the book. Hopefully the details will come back as I start discussing it.

    Right now, talking about marriage/affairs:
    1) I’d say the blame for the divorce was 2/3 hers, 1/3 his, but we don’t really know how hard either of them tried to resolve the issues in the marriage. The root of many of those issues was him, and his depression.

    2) As I was saying above, I don’t think that Andy was much of a husband for the last year+. This wasn’t exactly his fault due to his depression, but I don’t know if he made any effort to deal with it, or if his wife made a real effort to help.

    3) An emotional affair is as damaging to a relationship as a physical affair. More/less depends on the people and the relationships. I’ll say as a generalization that the emotional affair takes more away from the relationship when it happens, the physical does more damage when it is discovered.

    What does everyone else think? I’ll be back in a bit to discuss more about the book.

    • Hi Laura! I know what you mean, I’ve read 5 or 6 books since I finished TYNR, but coming up with questions and going over my notes has brought it all back for me. Hopefully that will happen for you once you start thinking about it.

      I agree with you on the blame, but I remember somewhere in the book (can’t find the page) that Andy said his wife couldn’t deal with his sadness anymore. I don’t think that should justify having affairs but it does explain the reason behind her behavior. He wasn’t available to her emotionally and she felt neglected. Maybe counseling would have been the better way to go, but perhaps she was just done with the relationship.

      I like how you put it- that the emo. affair takes away more as it’s happening, the physical does more damage when discovered. Both are a betrayal.

      • Hers was a sin of action, his of inaction, as far as the marriage went. I don’t think he DID anything to cause the divorce, but the fact he DIDN’T do anything gives him a substantial portion of the blame.

        I think the counseling should have happened much earlier, but for all we know, she tried and tried, and he just wouldn’t go.

      • Sorry I’m late to the discussion today (super crazy day are work)…

        I enjoyed reading all fo the comments and like Laura and Lisa, I read this book over a month ago (while on vacation). The discussion is bringing the book from the depths of my memory bank.

        I also like the wording ‘sin of action, sin of inaction’. As I mentioned in my review, I wanted to give Andy a shove a few times to get him moving along. My motto: You can live live on the sidelines or particpate in life.

        Being on ‘this side’ I can’t imagine forgiving either type of affair. Yet reading the book you can pass some blame to Andy – no drive.

  3. Laura, what a PERFECT way of putting it! A sin of action vs. a sin of inaction- SO true!

    I realize we don’t really know what, if anything, they tried. I guess I just related to that part of the story- and I will not say anymore about that🙂

  4. It seemed as though both Andy and his wife were to blame. Andy was obviously not there emotionally but I still don’t think that justifies the other partner having an affair. But it seemed more like the two of them just didn’t work together because he was able to emotionally connect to other people.

    • Very true. He seemed to have no trouble opening up on the phone after a glass of wine, LOL. Seems like he and his wife were just not a good match.

      • I think it is more complicated than he and his wife not being a good match.

        I think his wife was part of his life when he went through something very difficult (you know what I’m referring to), and she was therefore linked to that for him, making it hard for him to open up to her.

        I don’t know how she reacted at the time– did she reach out to him, or just want him to shrug it off? Did she push him so hard early on that he had to build a wall to protect himselt? That would affect my opinion of how much was “her fault” vs. just how things work out sometimes.

  5. A quick comment on Q4:

    Dude-list seems to be a good way of describing this book. I was curious as to who the audience would be. It is too touchy-feely for most of the guy readers I know, but it really seems to be relating more to the male POV.

    I actually enjoyed reading that realistic male viewpoint in a book like that, so that probably answers my question🙂.

    • Too quick of a reply, I guess. Obviously, I meant Dude-lit.

      • LOL. I definitely think the audience is women. Based on the guys I know that read- this book wouldn’t be their thing. Maybe I just don’t know the right guys, LOL.

    • It was definitely different to read the male viewpoint. I like the term “dude-lit”, although I agree that it was too “relationship-y” for any of the men i know!!

    • I also referred to this as ‘guy-lit’. It was a little strange reading this format with a man as the main character.

      I did enjoy the change of pace though.

    • I would agree that it’s dude-lit in that it comes from the pov of a male while still being a literary work. The fact that it focuses on relationships does make it seem to aim more at a female readership. But I’m going to see if I can get my husband to read it and see what he thinks.

  6. I read and enjoyed Shawn Klomparen’s latest book “several books ago” but hope to be able to contribute some ideas to this discussion. Lisa, all your questions are good but I’ve chosen a few to answer below.

    1. & 3. The divorce was caused by both spouses, although the wife should take most of the blame because she’s the one who broke the trust with an actual affair. Emotional affairs are of course damaging, too, and a symptom of something not working in a marriage. I think marriage at young ages is often turbulent.

    2. Andy may not have been the best husband, but he’s great and helpful to his sister and niece, especially once he starts to pull out of his rut. He’d been ignoring his friends but that improves in the book.

    4. I enjoyed reading about a male protagonist. I think this is a book for women rather than men, but I could be wrong.

    6. Andy’s job and fame give him confidence and the means to start healing and living life again.

    9. As a San Diegan, I really did enjoy the weather metaphors in the book. Rain represents the emotional life which Andy has been suppressing for far too long.

    • Hi Susan! Thanks for coming by. I agree with you that Andy wasn’t Husband of the Year, but he really was great with his niece, sister, and brother in law, and he seemed to be a good friend. He’s flawed but maybe just needed a kick in the pants.

      I’m a Southern Californian too so I also really enjoyed the weather metaphors.

  7. Did you guys like Andy? I really did. I liked him a lot.

    One little scene I thought was funny and bittersweet was when he is back in the house the morning after the movers have come. He takes a shower but has no towel and ends up dripping down the hall and pulling the mattress cover off the bed to dry off with.. then the little sticky note that says “Stays” gets stuck to his back. Andy stays. I’m glad he laughed and didn’t cry!!

    • I did like Andy. Considering what he had been through with his brother and then his divorce, I thought he was pretty well adjusted, actually. And I thought he was a terrific uncle.

    • I liked Andy a lot, and I loved that scene.

      His wife leaving him with no towels or glasses did influence my opinion of her early on. That was just mean.

      • It was mean!! I could see her being hateful like that if HE had been the one to cheat on her, but she wasn’t exactly a victim!

  8. I did like Andy! : )

  9. I was confused as to why Andy felt bad about being a part of a successful television show. He was part of a very creative process, was making a show with a good message for kids and he obviously really related to kids. As the dynamics around him on the program started to change, I could see why he might want out but I didn’t think he needed to feel bad about being a part of the show.

    • Do you think he felt bad? I think at times he was mildly embarrassed, but bad? I didn’t pick up on that. Unless you mean when they went to China (?)

      • I got the impression that he felt like a sell out for making so much money and doing something that garnered him so much fame.

  10. When i started the book, i had a tough time getting into it. Andy was just so sad, and i just couldn’t connect. But, as the story progressed, and Andy started to understand/come to grips with his emotional issues, i started to enjoy it more and more.
    I really think Hannah made a huge difference in the book and the outcome! I think the relationship between Hannah and Andy was my favorite part🙂

    • Cari, that was my favorite relationship as well. They really seemed to be able to communicate better than any other two people and were able to really help each other.

      • Hannah and Andy’s relationship was my favorite too. I really related to Hannah and her mom, how they loved each other but couldn’t always communicate, and how it was easier for both of them to talk with Andy.

  11. I think this a book mainly tailored to women, but I was surprised when my husband asked if he could read it after he had read my review. He is really liking it, and is finding some of the situations Andy gets himself into hilarious. So maybe this book could be a guy book, depending on the guy.

    I liked Andy a lot, and found him to be a really sympathetic main character. I found him a bit sad in the beginning, but once he started on the path to change his life, I was really behind him.

    I also think that emotional cheating can be just as damaging as physical cheating, if not more. I think an emotional connection like that, that is outside of marriage, has the potential to become huge problem, if it gets out of hand. Maybe Andy’s emotional relationship with Hillary may have been one of the catalysts in the break up with his wife. It was not really mentioned, but I sort of got the impression that maybe he had transferred some of his interest and attention from his wife towards Hillary. He may have not realized what he was doing, until he found his wife reacting to that lack of affection, and taking a lover. Maybe I am reading too much into the story, but I can imagine that happening.

    • How great that your husband is reading it! Mine is just not much of a reader at all.

      I think you nailed what was going on with Andy and his wife. He turned away from her emotionally and gave his attention to Hillary and his wife reacted. I don’t think you’re reading too much into it at all.

  12. It’s interesting to me that readers would make a distinction between “dude” and “chick” lit — I just wrote the sort of book I’d want to read myself. An interesting thing, though: I was chatting the other night with a writer friend who told me she’d just read Hemingway for the first time, and that she thought A FAREWELL TO ARMS read like chick lit. This struck me in that EH is my favorite writer and perhaps my greatest influence, and there is a scene in TWO YEARS, NO RAIN that i directly and consciously cribbed from the Papa Playbook. If anyone can identify the scene, I’ll not only send you a free copy of my first book, JESSICA Z., but a copy of my next book too.

    • Welcome, Shawn!! Thanks for dropping by.

      I thought it was refreshing to have a male character going through situations we as readers are used to seeing a woman go through. And the fact that it was a sensitive, introspective male character invites comparisons to chick lit, but because chick lit usually has a female protagonist, we don’t know what to call it!

      While I’d love to score a copy of Jessica Z, I’m not well versed enough in Hemingway to know what scene you’re referring to. I’m not even sure if I read A Farewell to Arms back in school!

  13. (Addendum to above post: I’ll send a copy of my next book if I actually ever write it!)

    Also, I forgot to add how flattered and honored I am by your having chosen and read my book, and how pleased I am by the depth and quality of the discussion. I think the greatest — and least expected — part of publishing a book is discovering how people interpret it. Even when it’s completely not what I had intended, I still think those different interpretations completely valid, because writing a book is only half of it; it has to be read as well, or it’s nothing. I don’t feel there’s a right or wrong way to see it.

    So thank you all so much!

    • LOL How far along is your next project? Can you tell us anything about it, or is it a secret?

      Can you compare the process of writing this new book to the writing of Jessica Z or Two Years, No Rain? Is it easier? More difficult?

      Thank you for commenting!

      • This one is a refreshing change in that I have no deadline; I’m trying to be much more disciplined about having a writing routine. I’m also really trying to push myself to do something new, establishing a voice for the main character and so on. Also, I’m not allowing my main character to suffer a head injury or take narcotic painkillers, something that happened in both JZ and TYNR. And the new book will not be taking place in California.

  14. Alice’s boyfriend was Sam the Butcher, by the way.

  15. Wish I’d paid more attention to Hemingway in high school!

    Yesterday my internet went out for a while. I want to expand upon why I liked Andy. He’s not arrogant, he’s down-to-earth, and he cares about people and doing the right thing. He has a conscious (about Hillary being married and other matters) and he picks himself up–sometimes literally–after he falls.

    Shawn, even though your next book won’t take place in CA, I’m looking forward to reading it!

  16. Oops! That should have been conscience in my last comment.

  17. I was surprised by this book, in that, at first, I didn’t like it and felt the pacing was a bit slow, and was frustrated that I didn’t have a good sense of Andy’s motivations. However, as the book continued, I really enjoyed it. I thought the details of the conflict b/w Andy and his brother and it’s aftermath (impact on his perception of himself, interpersonal style, and emotional style) was strong and perceptive. It all came together at the end, and I felt as if the hidden layers were peeled away and I finally understood🙂

    • I agree with you on how it all came together in the end, although I got into it right away and didn’t have a problem with the pacing. You’re right- it really was a multi-layered story.

  18. I don’t feel that Andy was at fault for the divorce. But he does have to take some kind of responsibility for being so distant emotionally after his twins’ death. By not talking to his wife, he cut her out of his world. She grew tired of having to deal with the shadow of Jason.

  19. I think an emotional affair is MORE damaging than a physical one. Connecting with sex is just a small part of a “relationship” but when you start to share the deeper things in life with someone other than your spouse that is a hurt that’s worse than any sex.

  20. I loved the weather metaphors in this book!!! I thought it was actually pretty brilliant.

  21. I found Andy to be endearing but I did not excuse his behavior with Hill, nor the way he tried to justify their affair.

  22. I agree with what Staci said about Andy–endearing but did not excuse his behavior. I did find it interesting though that Hillary was so concerned about his lack of interest with Jason (her husband, not Andy’s brother) and called him selfish about it. Didn’t understand why he was supposed to care about her Jason.

  23. […] bunch of us discussed this book over the summer.  Check out this post to see the comments.  You can visit the author’s website and learn more about his work HERE. […]

  24. […] bunch of us discussed this book over the summer.  Check out this post to see the comments.  You can visit the author’s website and learn more about his work […]

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