If The Creek Don't Rise
by Leah Weiss
Discussion Questions:
1. Life in 1970 Appalachia (and fictional Baines Creek) was undeniably hard and harsh. What did the novel tell you about that historic time and place that you expected? What did you learn that surprised you?

2. Sadie Blue was the principal character in the book, with her story told in three chapters. Did you root for her from the start? What were her key moments of growth? Who were her mentors and supporters? What did they do that helped her grow a stronger backbone?

3. In what ways were Sadie Blue and her grandmother, Gladys Hicks, and Sadie and her mother, Carly, alike? In what ways were they different?

4. Gladys and Marris were best friends. Who needed the other the most? Who gave the greatest purpose to their relationship?

5. Did you think Gladys was oblivious to her mean behavior? Why did she feel entitled to that mean behavior? How do you think she would have described herself?

6. Who were the most lovable or admirable characters? What made them that way? What were their strengths and weaknesses? In what ways were they important to Sadieís salvation?

7. Preacher Eli Perkins never quite believed he was good enough for his job. How did that quality make you feel about him? How do you think he performed his job?

8. Three characters who are hard to love are Prudence Perkins, Roy Tupkin, and Billy Barnhill. Did you find any reasons to empathize with them? What were the pivotal moments in their past that shaped their personalities? How do you think you would have fared if you were born into their families and stations of life?

9. When Kate Shaw arrives in Baines Creek, she expected to be doing the teaching. What were the things she learned instead?

10. Birdieís Books of Truths: What insights did they give you to life in Appalachia and the gifts Birdie possessed?

11. What role did Tattler Swann play in the book? Was he a good spokesman for Jerome Biddle? If so, why?

12. This book is written in first person, present tense. Did that choice by the author make the story more intimate? If so, in what ways?

13. Which characters were most capable of loving? What ways did they demonstrate that?

14. A number of murders were committed in the book. Do you think any of them were justified? If so, which ones and why?

(Discussion Questions by Publisher)


Book Club Talking Points:
The females in this story are diverse and strong, but they donít always do the right thing. There is a cycle of violence, domestic abuse, and subjugation that seems to be an accepted part of this culture and it's a community that rejects outsiders and change.
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