The book was written from the perspective of an end-of-life review and to help comfort those who are facing or have faced the death of a loved one.
In living a life, especially a long one, we all have unresolved questions about why certain things happen, about our purpose, and how we seek resolution and/or peace before we die. Theses are the questions that the old man and the spirit explore on Buddy’s bench.
The illustrations in the book, along with the sounds and descriptions of the island landscape, help to capture the uniqueness of a Maine island as the setting of the story.
Questions for Discussion and/or conversation:
Possible questions from the story:
1. What motivated the old man to go to Buddy’s Bench that night?
2. It said that the old man felt reassured to know that he could go to bench in the middle of the night if he’d wanted to, but he never did before that night. What does the bench and the spirit represent?
3. Why was that night different?
4. How do you imagine the relationship between the old man and his deceased wife?
5. The descriptions of the night, the moonlight, and the weather change throughout the book, how are these descriptions related to the story?
6. When the old man sits on the bench and pours his tequila, he said, “I may be an old fool sitting out here. Well, then again, I might just be starting to grow into my wisdom?” What does it mean to grow into one’s wisdom?
7. The old man looses his blue hat when a breeze comes up. What does the hat represent?
8. What was the old man still unresolved about that he was looking for answers from the spirit?
9. What did the spirit voice offer the old man at the end?
10. What does the visit of the young man to bench represent for you?
11. What does the blue sea glass represent?
12. Was the visit to Buddy’s Bench a dream or a memory?
13. What did the visit to the bench do for the old man at the end of his life?
Possible questions applied to one’s life:
1. What would you want to ask and/or discuss if you could spend a night on Buddy’s Bench?
2. What is unresolved and/or an important question that you’d like to understand before you die?
3. What does growing into your wisdom mean for you?
4. What words would you want to pass on to a young man or woman who asked you what you learnt from coming to Buddy’s Bench all your life?
5. What would give you peace to be holding in your hands if you knew you were going to die?
6. What would give you peace at the end of your life as you transition into death?