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Umpteen Millionaire Club: Ulli Lust's Today Is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life
Written by Kristy Valenti | Filed under Umpteen Millionaire ClubUlli Lust 12 Sep 2013 5:45 PM

Today Is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life by Ulli Lust

[The Umpteen Millionaire Club is our series which puts forth book club discussion questions for Fantagraphics titles. The Comics Journal interns Keith Baralato, Eli Powell, and Evans Winters put together this set of questions. - Ed.]

Today Is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life is a graphic memoir by Ulli Lust, set in the 1980s, which recounts her journey from Vienna, Austria, down through Italy, finally arriving on the island of Sicily. Seventeen-year-old “Ulli” lives on the streets, traveling with nothing but her best friend Edi, a sleeping bag, and barely enough money to buy a coffee. This rebellious young woman lives a life free of possessions or concern for the future as she interacts with fellow vagabonds, junkies, prostitutes, and even the Sicilian mob.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What motivates Ulli to travel?
  2. Early on, Ulli states that she wants to “accumulate as much experience as possible, to meet as many people as possible” (34). How successful is she in this goal?
  3. How does Ulli’s life on the streets differ from the people she meets who are more permanently rooted in poverty, homelessness, drugs, and hustling?
  4. What impact do the people she meets have on her? (List of Characters: Edi, Andreas, Dieter, Guido, Frankie, Gino, Paolo, Marc, etc.)
  5. How does Ulli’s gender affect her position as a traveler?
  6. What purpose do Ulli’s journal entries serve?
  7. How does Ulli’s vision of herself and/or what she will become match up with how you viewed the character?
  8. How does Lust use metaphorical imagery to tell her story? What effect do these techniques have on the reader as far as understanding Ulli’s inner life/experience?
  9. Does Ulli live as if today is the last day of the rest of her life? How does her attitude toward this idea change throughout the story?
  10. On the last page of the book, why does Ulli crawl out of her bed onto the floor to sleep?  What does the bed symbolize for Ulli?