Book Club Discussion Gude

1. There is a dichotomy that exists between the prevailing attitudes of city residents vs. small town residents.  How is this addressed in the character of John Jenkins, and how did his attitude change from the beginning to the end of the book?

2. Jenkins wasn’t enthused about his obituary assignment and put very little effort into it initially. What does this say about him?

3. Jenkins had several chance encounters with people who knew Gutzman. What did he discover from each meeting and which encounter was most meaningful to you?
· Sandy the waitress
· Jerry Peterson the veteran
· Pastor Glenn Terrell
· Dan and Sue, Rachel’s sister and brother-in-law
· People at the funeral

4. Chapter 7 is a crucial chapter because we learn so much about Guztman from his journal writings. How did these experiences shape him?

5. Gutzman made a very difficult decision to immigrate to America. How was he treated differently by his church members and his peers at the bar? Why are people so quick to make judgments on others without getting to know them? Are attitudes any different today?

6. The more Jenkins learned about Gutzman, the more it challenged his own views on life. How did this transformation affect his relationship with his friends in the Twin Cities, his father and step-mother and his co-workers?

7. Gutzman was a man of faith. How did that guide his life? How did it affect others?

8. In the final chapter Elmer Crosser reads Jenkins’ article. How did it affect him and what does it say about the power of love and forgiveness?