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Still Waters

Still Waters

  • reading group guide
Anger is a poison ivy in the heart and if it grows unchecked, it covers all the soft spaces where you love and understand and feel joy.
There's power in anger, sure, a power that can help you survive.
But true wisdom is in knowing when to let it go.
In Still Waters, Jennifer Lauck continues the riveting true story begun in her critically acclaimed memoir, Blackbird.
Clutching her pink trunk filled with secret treasures, the last relics of a lost childhood, twelve-year-old Jenny steps off a bus in Reno and straight into the wide-open future, where no path is certain except that of her own heart....Separated from her brother, Bryan, and passed from caretaker to caretaker, Jenny endures as she always has: by following the inner compass of the survivor. But when Bryan chooses a shocking, tragic destiny, Jenny must at last confront the secrets, lies, and loneliness that have held her prisoner for years. Embarking on a search for answers, the adult Jenny discovers that the past cannot be locked away forever -- even when unraveling one's own anger and pain seems an impossible feat. Now, in the warmth and understanding of her marriage, in the eyes of her child, and in powerful conversations with a dynamic young priest, Jennifer finds her own miracles. A hardened heart learns to love. A damaged soul finds peace. And life, once merely a matter of survival, becomes rich with the joys of truly living.
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  • Atria Books | 
  • 432 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780743444286 | 
  • October 2001
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Reading Group Guide

Reading group guide for Still Waters
1. Still Waters begins with Jenny going to live with her grandparents. She loves the very precise routine of their days (golf, cocktail hour, supermarket on Tuesday, etc.). Many children would find such routine boring, but what is it about Jenny's background that makes her cling to these structured days?
2. When her grandparents tell Jenny that she's going to live with her aunt and uncle, she says, "I want to tell them I'll try harder, do better..." [p. 23] Do you think Jenny (and other children who are neglected, abandoned, or abused) feels deep down inside that she is to blame for her circumstances in life? Why do you think she tried so hard to "be good," and not to tell anyone when things were wrong, or say "no" to people who might hurt her?
3. Throughout her childhood, Jenny is fixated on certain possessions -- her pink trunk, her Princess bedroom set -- as the last vestiges of her life before her parents died. What symbolism do you think these particular objects hold for Jenny? Do you have similar items from your past that you have held onto as tokens of happy or significant times in your life?
4. When Jenny moves in with Aunt Peggy and Uncle Dick, she and Peggy initially relate to each other as friends and confidants. Over the years their relationship changes, becoming highly adversarial. Why and when do you think this shift occurs between them? Do you think Peggy and Jenny have mixed feelings see more

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About the Author

Jennifer Lauck
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Jennifer Lauck

Jennifer Lauck is the author of the New York Times bestselling memoir Blackbird and its sequel, Still Waters. She lives with her husband, son, and daughter in Portland, Oregon.

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