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Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

The Decision: Prairie State Friends, Book One

1. Elaine felt that the care of Edna, her grandmother, was her responsibility, so at first she had trouble accepting help from others. Have you ever been in a situation where you needed help but tried to do everything on your own? How did you feel when someone stepped in to help?

2. Elaine waited too long to tell her grandmother about her illness, and Edna ended up hearing it from someone else. If you knew someone in your family had been diagnosed with a serious illness, would you tell them right away, or do you think it would be better to keep it from them?

3. When Edna first learned that she had dementia, she was in denial. Have you or someone you know ever been told by a doctor that something was seriously wrong? If so, how did you deal with it?

4. When Edna realized she was losing her memory, her biggest concern was that she wouldn’t remember any of her family or friends. If you were in Edna’s place, what would be your biggest fears? If you suffered from memory loss, what would you do to help remember those who are closest to you?

5. Elaine told Jonah a lie when she said she didn’t love him. Is there ever a time when it’s okay to lie?

6. When Sara began having health issues, she put off going to the doctor, using the cost as an excuse. Have you or someone you know ever avoided going to the doctor due to the lack of money? Was Sara right in neglecting her health, or should she have asked someone for the money she needed? By not going to the doctor sooner, was Sara putting her son at risk?

7. Elaine’s closest friends, Leah and Priscilla, helped her deal with the sorrowful events that came her way. What are some ways we can help a friend who is going through a difficult time?

8. Elaine’s friends often gave her advice. When should we listen to a friend’s recommendations, and when should we choose to ignore them?

9. Do you think Elaine was being overprotective of her grandmother? As a caregiver to a relative with dementia, how would you handle things?

10. Jonah had been hurt by two women and was afraid to take another chance. Have you or someone you know ever been fearful of entering a new relationship because of past failures? If so, how did you or your friend deal with those fears?

11. Even though Elaine told Jonah she didn’t love him, do you think Jonah gave up too quickly her? Should Jonah have tried harder to assure Elaine of his love for her and his willingness to help during her time of need?

12. Arthur, Illinois is a real town. While reading this story, what did you learn about this Amish community?

13. Does reading about the Amish influence you to simplify your life? What are some ways people can simplify? What are ways you could simply your life?

The Decision: Prairie State Friends, Book One
by Wanda E. Brunstetter