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Book Club Questions for Home Cries the Soul

You have asked and Leah has answered! SPOILER ALERT! Though the questions are general in nature, there are some specific questions that allude to the plot line. 

Book Club Discussion Questions for

Home Cries the Soul

Leah Dawkins

1. The main character, Laura Lynne, decides as a teenager never to return to her home/hometown, a decision she keeps for 35 years. Have you ever made a decision that changed the course of your future in the way Laura Lynne’s decision impacted hers?

 

2. Scarlet, Laura Lynne’s older sister, has been responsible for the care of her parents. Can you identify with being the sibling responsible for your parents? How does this make you feel, especially if your siblings are hands-off?

 

3. There are three main relationship themes in the book, sister/sister, mother/daughter, and female friend/female friend, which one did you most identify with and why?

 

4. The segregated south was/is a real thing. What are your thoughts regarding the dynamic of Pearl and her brother Malcolm within the family unit? Does it evoke feelings of discomfort?

 

5. Southern food is a cultural element that evokes strong feelings in the inhabitants of Tea Olive Plantation. Does food play a role in your family life? Perhaps you have a favorite family dish served each time a child is home visiting or for a special event or birthday?

 

6. Laura Lynne knew in her heart that Dr. Butler was creepy, her intuition warned her even though she didn’t know exactly why she was repelled. She allowed her mother to guilt her into doing something she did not want to do. Have you ever done something you felt compelled to do to assuage another person, even though in your heart you knew you shouldn’t do it? What was the result and do you think you could have handled it differently?

 

7. The relationship Laura Lynne has with her mother is one of love, trust, and to some degree, fear. Why do you think this is? What does she fear? What is your relationship like with your mother?

 

8. Sawyer, Laura Lynne’s father, is a known philanderer and yet his children seem to treat this as just ‘one of those things’ and in fact have quite a bit of venom toward Virginia Phillips. Why do you think this is? Sawyer is as much or more to blame for the situation as his mistress, or do you disagree? Why or why not?

 

9. Reconnecting with old friends is a central theme in this book. When Laura Lynne and Grace see each other for the first time, it is as if they were never apart, reconnecting with ease. Do you have someone in your life that you don’t see for long periods of time, but then you do and it’s as if you were together last week? Who is this and why do you think this happens with some people and not with others?

 

10. Gabe is able to make Laura Lynne view her past through a different lens, forcing her to quit seeing herself as a victim, instead turning her past into some of her best life lessons. Can you look at areas of your life where you first viewed yourself as a victim and now are grateful you had the experience? It has become your testimony instead of your pity party story?

 

11. Natalie is not a part of the town clique. She is the ‘new girl’ even though she has been in town for a couple of decades. She cannot break in to the gang, so she turns nasty and creates her own ‘friend group.’ Unfortunately, a tactic still seen in many high schools and workplaces these days. Why do women do this? What is the clique mentality and how has it impacted you today or in your past? Do you identify with Natalie or with Laura Lynne? Why or why not?

 

12. Laura Lynne figures out what happened to her in 1985 but never reports it. In the meantime, her perpetrator continues to abuse. Do you think Laura Lynne should have spoken up? Why do you think she didn’t? What do you think you would do in a similar situation?

 

13. If you were in Laura Lynne’s situation, would you be able to forgive your mother as Laura Lynne is able to do? Why or why not?

 

14. Is Melanie a reflection of her upbringing, the culture, the times she lived in, or her own ego? Or a combination of the four? Explain your answer.

 

15. Aunt Eileen is the ‘black sheep’ of the family. Do you have a family member who just doesn’t seem to fit the mold of your familial tribe? Perhaps that is you? Explain how they are different and the impact this difference has had on the family dynamic.

 

16. Who do you think is Dead Doe? Why?

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