Reading Group Questions and Discussion Points

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1. Marnie, a child of eleven in this novel, has already learned to face life's hardships with remarkable resiliency. How is it possible to get through such formidable situations at her age without falling apart? What were her strategies for coping? Do you believe certain personalities are better able to weather bad situations?

2. Environment plays an important role in this novel. How does Marnie's natural environment affect her formative years? Does growing up in the country help or hurt her?

3. In this story Mother Nature shows us the fragility of life. How?

4. Without Claire's role as "caregiver" to Marnie, what might her fate have been? How in your own life, or the lives of your friends, have you seen the difference one person can make?

5. The theme of "change" weaves throughout this book. Why is it so hard for people to change and grow even when current circumstances no longer benefit them?

6. Jeanie Evans loses herself when Vaughn is around. Why do you think some women sacrifice themselves, as well as their children, in favor of a man?

7. How do you explain Marnie's ability to love Jeanie at the hands of such cruel treatment, and at what point in the novel does it finally click that her mama doesn't care for her the way a mother should?

8. What holds Rick back from showing his feelings for Marnie? At what point does he realize he loves her like she was his own child?

9. Despite Rick and Claire's struggles over Marnie they remain incredibly devoted to one another. How does Claire manage to continue supporting her husband when she feels they are not on the same emotional page?

10. According to Claire, Rick loved her at first site. Do you believe a person can be smitten that way? If so, have you had an experience you'd like to share?

11. The idea that one marries the person most likely to disclose their flaws and help guide them to their highest potential is not a new concept. Do you think there is truth in this? If so, how did the process work for Rick and Claire?

12. Summer holds court in this novel. How is it a harbinger of change? How does this season represent a transformation for Marnie in particular?

13. Does Aunt Shelby want custody of Marnie because she feels responsible for the girl, or is it to spite Rick and Claire? Were there other reasons she might want to finish raising her?

14. Marnie has an intense imagination. Do you believe her creative side is beneficial or harmful? Does it help preserve her innocence? What is the connection between love and imagination?

15. The symbolic burying of the box is important to Claire, Rick, and Marnie. Why? In relation to Marnie's growth, what might the treasured items inside the box represent?

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Eleven-year-old Marnie Evans longs to be precious. She wishes on stars for parents who adore her, even though her family is dysfunctional. She also believes that jack rabbits and a boot-wearing Texas angel show her mysterious signs of things to come. Continue Reading

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