Book Info: Bridging Beyond

Publisher: Philomel May 2002.

Age group: 12-17

Jacket illustration: Chris Nurse.

Genre: Historical Fiction

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Bridging Beyond
Discussions and Activities:

Bridging Beyond


  1. 90% of the brain’s functions are still not understood. Do you believe genetic memory is a real possibility? Why or why not?
  2. If indeed we do inherit our ancestor’s memories, would you find this experience to be a positive or negative one?
  3. Scientifically speaking, why do you think scientists believe that a traumatic experience is necessary to trigger these memories in the brain?

Social Studies

  1. Anna urges Jessie to drive although she is aware that Jessie has been drinking. Do you believe Anna is responsible for what happens next? Can you be held liable for simply encouraging someone to do something dangerous? Legally, should you be held accountable?
  2. What are the repercussions of people’s actions in this book? Mama’s? Sancho’s? Niles’? Nellie’s? Guy’s? Stuart’s? Anna’s? There is a saying – ”Actions speak louder than words”. Do you find this true or untrue in this book? What about in your own life?
  3. One of the themes of this book is forgiveness. Are there any incidences that you feel are not forgivable? Do you think you could forgive yourself if you were Anna? If you were Mimi?

Language Arts

  1. One of the ways Anna is able to tap into these ”genetic memories” is by association. Something in her real day world triggers memories that lie dormant in her brain. Transitions in any work are important. How do you feel the following transitions worked?
    • the bathtub transition
    • the White Shore Lake transition
    • the nightclub transition
    • the accident in the road transition
    • the flying transition
    • the bridge transition
  2. How would you have led Anna into these memories differently?
  3. How does being physically at Mimi’s house help or hinder Anna tapping into those memories?


  1. Anna’s great-grandmother lived during the 1920’s with all its inherent glitz and glamour. What important events of the 1920’s are identified in the book?
  2. How do you feel Mimi’s relationships with her friends was similar or different to yours today?
  3. How have times changed since then? How are they similar?

The Arts

  1. What role do the arts play in this book?
  2. How does Beethoven’s life come to mirror Mimi’s and Anna’s?
  3. Do you feel the arts are a way for people to cope with difficult situations? Are you aware of anyone personally who has found this to be true?