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Readers’ Discussion Points:

(Without giving the story away)

  • In Chapter one, Kelly is transitioning both emotionally and in appearance.  Consider some examples, and what do they say about her habit of putting on a good front?


  • When Mitchell arrives, we see him from Kelly’s unsympathetic point of view.  What in the writing makes him neither all bad nor all good?


  • What do you make of Grayson’s sisters, Margaret and Clair?  And what do you make of Kelly’s deceptions?


  • The bulk of chapter five contains flashback episodes between Kelly and her mother.  How do these experiences contribute to Kelly’s character arch?


  • Consider, both literally and metaphorically, the situation of Kelly tip-toeing into the church in search of a drinking fountain.  Why is she so conflicted?


  • On Mother’s Day, Kelly performs her annual routine of laying flowers at her mother’s grave.  Consider the differences between honor, duty, respect, and fear.


  • In Chapter Nine, consider how the past, present, and future are represented by the various characters that appear starting with Kelly’s dream of her mother thru to Gina Bennett’s son, Dane.


  • When Kelly fell and hit her head, she refused Mitchell’s aid.  Why?


  • Compare and contrast Kelly’s memory of Grayson’s passing with Mitchell’s account of his friend Daryl’s death.


  • What kind of shifts takes place when Kelly believes Mitchell has abandoned her?


  • While Kelly is diving in her grief inside the house, Mitchell is actually making progress outside.  Consider examples of each, and what it means, in a broader context, to be seen..


  • Chapter fourteen is pivotal.  What happened and how did it change the course of action?


  • Without giving away the ending, remember that this story is about loss and recovery, resentment and forgiveness.  What other themes come into play in the desert?   


  • What role do Mr. Finch and Mr. Ritell play in the story?     




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