Reading Guide Questions
Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
When Ethan Ford fails to show up for work on a brilliant summer morning, none
of his neighbors would guess that for more than thirteen years, he has been
running from his past. His true nature has been locked away, as hidden as his
real identity. But sometimes locks spring open, and the devastating truths of
Ethan Ford's history shatter the small-town peace of Monroe, affecting family
and friends alike.
- In Blue Diary, Alice Hoffman uses imagery from the natural world to
mirror events that take place in the lives of her characters. Why is it
portentous when she writes in Chapter One that lilies "only last for a
single day, and then, no matter what a person might do to save them, they
are fated, by God, or circumstance, or nature, to fade away?" What else
in the novel is as ephemeral as the lilies Hoffman describes?
- Things are not always as they seem in Monroe, Massachusetts. Do the
beautiful people in the novel have more to hide than those who are less
physically blessed? What do you think Hoffman might be trying to say about
- Why does Kat "save" Rosarie from running away with Ethan, if she
knows it will mean staying on the losing end of her sister's mean behavior
all her life?
- Kat asserts that her decision to report Ethan to the police had nothing to
do with the loss of her own father. Do you believe her? Why or why not?
- Why does Jorie, after reading Rachel Morris's last diary entry,
immediately decide to leave Ethan, and her hometown, behind? What does James
Morris mean when he says Jorie will know what to do if she reads the diary?
- Loyalty and devotion are important themes in Blue Diary. Do you
think Jorie shows sufficient loyalty to her husband?
- Charlotte Kite endures divorce, the loss of both her parents in high
school, and breast cancer, but she finds a lover in Barney Stark. Jorie
leads a charmed life until her husband's heinous crimes are revealed. Which
woman has had to endure more? Which situation is resolved better?
- Should the deeds from our past be used to judge us in the present? Does
benevolent behavior in the recent past "undo" reprehensible
behavior from long ago?
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