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  1. #1

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    Default Finding Emma - November Discussion Thread

    This month, we're reading and discussing Finding Emma by Steena Holmes. I finished the book a week or two ago (and then went on to read the second book, Emma's Secret, a few days later). Have you picked up your copy, yet? If not, don't worry, there's still time!

    Due to the holidays coming up this month and next (and in an attempt to make the GingerScraps Book Club as easy and enjoyable as possible for all), Becky and I are going to be doing a few things different. There will be no chat this month (or next). Instead, we'll be discussing the book in this forum thread as we finish reading. That should hopefully allow us all to participate without worrying about finding time in our busy schedules to devote solely to a chatroom discussion.

    Below are 13 discussion questions to get you started discussing the book. Please don't limit yourself to simply answering these questions, though -- let your impression of the book lead you to discuss anything you'd like! Can't WAIT to see what you all say!


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    1. After Emma’s disappearance, Megan started up the Walk Home Alone program. What do you think was the underlying reason for Megan starting up this program? Is it all the safety of the children, or is there some need to resolve her own guilt?


    2. When you are first introduced to Peter, what is your initial reaction to him? Do you see him as a man trying to be the glue to keeping his family together or does he come across as more selfish?


    3. Losing a child is every mother’s worst nightmare. Do you think you would react the same way as Megan does or differently? Do you know anyone who has gone through this?


    4. When Megan first thought she’d seen Emma at the coffee shop drive-thru, what was your first reaction? How would you have reacted if you were in her shoes? What about if you were that child’s mother and a stranger came up to your child like Megan did?


    5. As the story progressed, how did your attitude towards Megan change? Was she a woman that you felt you could sympathize with? Did you agree with Peter and everyone else in her life who felt she’d been so focused on finding Emma that she’s forgotten about everyone else?


    6. Dottie is a strong woman with a conflicted past. It becomes evident early on that Dottie has some memory loss. When did you start to wonder that things weren’t as they seem at the farm house?


    7. The scene where Peter showed his journal to Megan was crucial, not only to their storyline as a couple, but at showing how Peter was handling Emma’s disappearance. Did that change the way you looked at Peter at all? Did it affect how you viewed Megan and her thoughts about her marriage and her husband?


    8. Why do you think that Jack never fought Dottie on the issue of Emmie never leaving the farm? When Jack finds out the truth about Mary, his own daughter, how did you react?


    9. When Peter asks Megan to ‘let go’ of Emma, what was your immediate reaction? Was it right of Peter to give Megan the ultimatum of “Emma or me?”


    10. The scene Megan witnessed at the cemetery was instrumental in her decision to say goodbye to Emma. How did you feel at that point?


    11. When Jack finally admitted to himself that he’d been ignoring the obvious, what were your thoughts? Do you think he purposefully turned a blind eye? Do you think he knew all along that Emmie really wasn’t his granddaughter, or do you feel that Jack really thought this was his second chance?


    12. What was your favorite moment of the final scene?


    13. Now that you are finished with the story – what are your overall thoughts? What was your favorite scene? What character did you resonate with more? What character did you like least? If there was one thing you would change in the story, what would it have been?

  2. #2

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    Default Re: Finding Emma - November Discussion Thread

    Come on...I know someone else HAD to read the book with me, right?!

    Even if you don't want to answer the questions above, I'd still LOVE to hear what you thought of the story!

  3. #3

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    Default Re: Finding Emma - November Discussion Thread

    11. When Jack finally admitted to himself that he’d been ignoring the obvious, what were your thoughts? Do you think he purposefully turned a blind eye? Do you think he knew all along that Emmie really wasn’t his granddaughter, or do you feel that Jack really thought this was his second chance?

    This question really stuck with me. I really, really liked Jack. I think he was a lovely man who really loved his wife and his daughter. How was he to know that Emmie wasn't Mary's daughter? Even after knowing that Mary died, he had no reason to think that Emmie wasn't her daughter. Yes, he know that Dottie was getting senile and her memory wasn't great but that didn't start getting that bad until after Emmie was with them. When Dottie took Emma, she hadn't been showing too many signs of dementia. I don't feel like Jack turned a blind eye. I honestly think he didn't know and he immediately did the right thing by turning her over to her parents. He tried to explain to Emmie what was happening. My heart broke for him-losing the light in his life-Emmie, and losing the love of his life all at the same time. How was he supposed to go on? I'm really glad he did find a way to go on and I'm really glad that Peter was able to overlook Megan's hatred of Jack, which I think was unwarranted because he didn't know-only Dottie knew, but did Dottie really know? I'm so glad that Peter took Emma to see Jack because I think Emma needed that to recover. She needed to have the man in her life who she lived with for several years and whom she loved like a grandfather. I just wish Megan had come around sooner. (I bet I'm into book 2 by this point in my discourse-sorry about that!!!)

  4. #4

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    Default Re: Finding Emma - November Discussion Thread

    yes Becky book two spoiler..LOL... Poor Jack is all I kept thinking... I mean i felt for Emma's family when they were searching for her and I could not imagine my own child being kidnapped and what I would do, but my heart ached for Jack and all his loss(daughter, wife, & Emmie) pretty much all at the same time. What a strong man he was to do the right thing when he began to have his doubts about Emma!

  5. #5

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    Default Re: Finding Emma - November Discussion Thread

    I totally agree with you guys! I think I felt the most bad for Jack..I mean I felt bad for Megan losing her daughter, too, but I felt so so bad for Jack and you could really feel how torn up he was....

    I had a hard time with Peter. I know that he wrote the journal for Emma, but I struggled to really feel much sympathy for him or feel like he really hurt the way I would imagine you would hurt if you were to lose a child. I guess it is hard to say how you would really feel in that situation!

    Anyway, that is my .02! I can't wait to read the second one....My dang library doesn't have it though, so I have to buy it off Amazon!



  6. #6

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    Default Re: Finding Emma - November Discussion Thread

    I wasn't sure what to think about Peter either. I couldn't tell that he was really mourning and suffering like Megan. I know men generally keep things inside so maybe that was it. But he didn't seem too understanding of Megan's suffering. At some point you must need to go on but how do you do that? Was 2 years that point to go on? I just don't know.

  7. #7

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    Default Re: Finding Emma - November Discussion Thread

    I loved Jack too! He reminded me of the memories I have of my paternal grandfather. We lost him when I was six but I was on the same kind of pedestal that Emmie was for Jack. I don't think there was a way during the two years that he could have had any thought that she wasn't really his granddaughter, he trusted Dottie and didn't, or maybe didn't want to, realize how sick she already was. As a reader, my jaw just dropped when I read how Emma really ended up with her "grandparents." To be honest for a good part of the book I was sure that Mary, probably in a drugged-out stupor, kidnapped Emma and couldn't remember where she came from so she passed her of on her parents to "figure it out." I LOVE a book that ends up completely different than I figured and makes logical sense that it was that way.

    I though the things Megan did made perfect sense. My cousin and his wife lost a teenage daughter to cancer in 2011 and they have buried themselves in children's cancer fundraising and have created a foundation in their daughter's name. When something traumatic happens to your child beyond your control to bury yourself in trying to prevent it from ever happening to anyone else's child is both obsessive and therapeutic. The side effect of either emotionally neglecting or smothering your other children is also normal.

    I thought Peter was a good character too. Men deal with stress situations different than we do. We still live in a society of double standards, especially in dealing with grief. Men are expected to remain strong. That he kept a journal where he wrote to Emma wasn’t surprising neither was the fact that he didn’t share that he was doing it until a couple years later.

    I loved the first book, but having read the second right after it (no spoilers here) I was just left wondering why the second book was written. I didn’t care for it and it was a let-down for me after the first book.

  8. #8

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    Default Re: Finding Emma - November Discussion Thread

    I'm a bit torn on the Jack issue. I'm not saying that I think he knew Emma wasn't his, or that he knew there was lies in the story Dottie told...but, I find it a little hard to believe that he firmly believed everything was on the up and up. I mean, yes they had essentially 'lost' their daughter, but Dottie seemed far too incredibly protective of Emma, refusing to let her have friends or go anywhere with Jack. He was probably blinded by love, for both of them, but I'd think there would have to be some warning bells go off in the back of his mind.

    Peter just made me mad. I get that he's a man, and prone to keeping his feelings further inside than his wife. I get that at some point, for the sanity of the whole family, parents who lose children (from death or kidnapping, etc) must find a way to go on. But, I also think it's up to the individual parent to decide when that point is. It was obvious that Megan wasn't to that point, and I was horrified that Peter tried to push her into having a burial type ceremony to say goodbye to Emma! :/

  9. #9

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    Default Re: Finding Emma - November Discussion Thread

    I was torn too with Jack because I just don't know how someone doesn't question any of it when things seem to be out of place.

    Really didn't like Peter in this part of the books. I don't think I would be able to give up either if that were my child missing.

  10. #10

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    Default Re: Finding Emma - November Discussion Thread

    I read Finding Emma and Dear Jack. I'm in the middle of Emma's Secret now. Didn't like Dear Jack that much as it was a lot of the same thing over and over about how Dottie missed Jack.

    1. After Emma’s disappearance, Megan started up the Walk Home Alone program. What do you think was the underlying reason for Megan starting up this program? Is it all the safety of the children, or is there some need to resolve her own guilt?
    I think she needed to stay busy and the program helped her deal with the loss of her daughter.

    2. When you are first introduced to Peter, what is your initial reaction to him? Do you see him as a man trying to be the glue to keeping his family together or does he come across as more selfish?

    I didn't like Peter that much at all in the first book. I didn't like how he wanted to give up on his daughter and that he was working long hours getting closer and closer to his co-worker.

    3. Losing a child is every mother’s worst nightmare. Do you think you would react the same way as Megan does or differently? Do you know anyone who has gone through this?

    I have lost one of my daughters for an hour or so and I tell you it is not something I would want to go through again. It would tear me apart if I didn't find her.

    4. When Megan first thought she’d seen Emma at the coffee shop drive-thru, what was your first reaction? How would you have reacted if you were in her shoes? What about if you were that child’s mother and a stranger came up to your child like Megan did?

    I probably would have done the same thing Megan did. If I was the child's mother I would be upset that Megan came after my daughter but I would understand her why she did it.

    5. As the story progressed, how did your attitude towards Megan change? Was she a woman that you felt you could sympathize with? Did you agree with Peter and everyone else in her life who felt she’d been so focused on finding Emma that she’s forgotten about everyone else?
    Yes I agree she was getting all wrapped into finding her daughter that she started to neglect her living daughters.

    6. Dottie is a strong woman with a conflicted past. It becomes evident early on that Dottie has some memory loss. When did you start to wonder that things weren’t as they seem at the farm house?

    It was strange how Dottie kept referring to Emmie as her daughter Mary. She got them confused quite a lot in the book.

    7. The scene where Peter showed his journal to Megan was crucial, not only to their storyline as a couple, but at showing how Peter was handling Emma’s disappearance. Did that change the way you looked at Peter at all? Did it affect how you viewed Megan and her thoughts about her marriage and her husband?

    When I got to that point I actually cried. Yes real tears. I have never cried before while reading a book. I just felt oh, he does have a heart. Before then I was getting really mad at him.

    8. Why do you think that Jack never fought Dottie on the issue of Emmie never leaving the farm? When Jack finds out the truth about Mary, his own daughter, how did you react?

    I was upset that Mary died and Jack was never notified of her death. They never had a funeral. That seemed strange to me.

    9. When Peter asks Megan to ‘let go’ of Emma, what was your immediate reaction? Was it right of Peter to give Megan the ultimatum of “Emma or me?”

    Didn't like this part at all. I was getting really mad at Peter for giving up.

    10. The scene Megan witnessed at the cemetery was instrumental in her decision to say goodbye to Emma. How did you feel at that point?
    I felt bad for Megan to see that other family go through that at the cemetary.

    11. When Jack finally admitted to himself that he’d been ignoring the obvious, what were your thoughts? Do you think he purposefully turned a blind eye? Do you think he knew all along that Emmie really wasn’t his granddaughter, or do you feel that Jack really thought this was his second chance?


    12. What was your favorite moment of the final scene?


    13. Now that you are finished with the story – what are your overall thoughts? What was your favorite scene? What character did you resonate with more? What character did you like least? If there was one thing you would change in the story, what would it have been?
    I wanted to find out more about Mary. Why was she sent away? Why did she die and no one knew she died? I wanted to read more. I felt sorry for Jack that he lost everyone his daughter, his wife and then his so to be granddaughter too.

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