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Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

Prayers and Lies

1. Is there a villain in the story? Who is the villain? Is there anything that makes his or her actions understandable? Is that character redeemable?

2. Aunt Belle explains to Reana Mae and Bethany that Helen’s family carries “bad blood.” What is the bad blood? How might it be diagnosed today?

3. Does knowing about the bad blood change the way you view Tracy?

4. Do Helen and Jimmy bear responsibility for Tracy’s death? What could they have done to prevent it?

5. Did Jolene have a right to know who her father was? Should Helen have told her? Why or why not?

6. Is there any good in the relationship between Reana Mae and Caleb? What good would that be?

7. Why did Reana Mae have sex with Harley Boy on the day of Araminta’s funeral? What does her decision say about her attitude toward sex?

8. How might the story have changed if Jolene had not lost her baby?

9. What responsibility does Bobby Lee bear for Reana Mae’s relationship with Caleb?

10. Were Harley Boy, Ruthanne, and Bethany right to keep quiet after they found out about Reana Mae and Caleb? Should they have told their parents the truth?

11. What role does Neil play in the story?

12. Why is the book titled Prayers and Lies? Is there a faith element to the story?

13. Why is the story told from Bethany’s perspective? Is that an effective narrative device? How might the story be different if it was told in the third person?

14. Was moving Reana Mae to Indianapolis the right decision for her? Was it the right decision for the rest of the family?

15. What enabled Helen to rise above the circumstances of her childhood and become a sane, loving mother?

16. Given the family history of “bad blood,” is it irresponsible for Bethany to choose to have a child?

Prayers and Lies
by Sherri Wood Emmons

  • Publication Date: February 1, 2011
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Kensington
  • ISBN-10: 0758253249
  • ISBN-13: 9780758253248