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TALKING TO THE DEAD
Bonnie Grove
David C. Cook
Fiction
ISBN: 9781434766410

Discussion Questions
About the Book

About the Book

Kevin was dead and the people in my house wouldn’t go home. They mingled after the funeral, eating sandwiches, drinking tea, and speaking in muffled tones. I didn’t feel grateful for their presence. I felt exactly nothing,” writes Bonnie Grove in TALKING TO THE DEAD. “Funerals exist so we can close doors we’d rather leave open. But where did we get the idea that the best approach to facing death is to eat Bundt cake?”

In her first novel, beloved author Bonnie Grove pens a poignantly realistic and uplifting story of hope, grace, and recovery from grief. Grove’s main character, twenty-something Kate Davis, can’t seem to get the grieving widow thing right. She’s supposed to put on a brave face and get on with her life, right? Instead, she’s camped out on her living room floor, unwashed, unkempt, and unable to sleep --- because her husband Kevin keeps talking to her.

Is she losing her mind? Kate’s attempts to find the source of the voice she hears are both humorous and humiliating, as she turns first to an “eclectically spiritual” counselor, then a shrink with a bad toupee, an exorcist, and finally group therapy. There she meets Jack, the warmhearted, unconventional pastor of a ramshackle church, and at last the voice subsides. But when she stumbles upon a secret Kevin was keeping, Kate’s fragile hold on the present threatens to implode under the weight of the past…and Kevin begins to shout. Will the voice ever stop?

In this tender, quirky novel about embracing life, Grove patiently walks readers through the depths and mysteries of extreme sorrow after the death of a loved one. As she takes an unflinching look at the mental health industry, Grove’s training in counseling and psychology brings realism and empathy to grief and mental breakdown. While Kate must confront her own loss to find the grace to go on, readers will be led to the God who is always willing and able to comfort hearts in pain.

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Discussion Questions

1.Friendship. Maggie thrust hers onto Kate, Heather forged an inappropriate one. Kate offers her friendship to Sakeena. Examine the role friendship played in Kate’s unfolding drama.

2.Loss. Loss comes in many forms in Kate’s story. There are the obvious losses brought by death, but there are many more. Examine the levels of loss Kate experienced.

3.Mental health. Kate’s grief and guilt expressed itself in many different ways. Examine the evidence that suggests Kate was mentally ill, and the evidence that suggests she was mentally healthy.

4.Love. Kate’s understanding of love changes throughout the book. Love is expressed and rebuffed and rejoiced in at different times. Examine the different kinds of love in the book.

5.Humor. Even in the throes of her sorrow and grief, Kate experienced moments of quirkiness, of lightness, and even humor. How was this accomplished in the book?

6.Therapy. Kate underwent several types of therapy. How did each help her? In what ways did they fail to help her?

7.Faith. Kate wrestles with God. Jack ’s faith inspires her, and The Reverend’s faith frightens her. Explore Kate’s journey toward faith --- it’s small but important beginnings, to the end of the book. What do you think about Kate’s faith experience?

© Copyright 2017 by Bonnie Grove. Reprinted with permission by David C. Cook. All rights reserved.

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