The Snowflake – Discussion Questions
- Ellen’s brother, Jonah, suffers with mental illness triggered when their father walked out on them. Describe a situation when you or someone you know struggled with emotional or mental difficulties (i.e., depression, anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, abandonment issues, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, etc.)? What sort of treatment did you/they turn to?
- What role should the body of Christ play in reaching out to people who struggle with mental illness and/or emotional trauma?
- The characters on board the ice-locked steamship are forced to make a decision—sit out the winter on the ship or risk a harrowing trek across Alaska to reach Dawson City. Which group would you be in? What personality type are you? (Risk taker? Thrill seeker? Overly cautious? Conservative?)
- When, if ever, have you had to make a big decision, and though you prayed you didn’t receive a definitive answer from the Lord? What did you do? What do these Scripture verses mean to you in regards to making big decisions?
“Answer me when I call to you, O my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; be merciful to me and hear my prayer.” Psalm 4:1 (niv)
“Hear my prayer, O LORD, listen to my cry for help; be not deaf to my weeping. For I dwell with you as an alien, a stranger, as all my fathers were.” Psalm 39:12 (niv)
“Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” Psalm 119:105 (kjv)
- Buck is the kind of man folklore is made from. What is it about the strong, confident, “leader of men” type that is so attractive? If married, what type of man did you choose and why? If single, which type of man are you attracted to and why do you think that is?
- On the trail, Sinclair is accused of stealing food. Describe a time when you were falsely accused of something or falsely accused someone else. Read and discuss Mark 15 when Jesus is accused and crucified.
- What do you think of Kate? How would you react if you were offered help by a prostitute or someone of ill repute?
- When Buck leaves Dawson, Ellen struggles with loneliness and longing for him. Everyone feels lonely at times. What triggers this for you? How do you cope?
- The holiday season can be tough for some people. What are the best aspects of Christmas? The worst?
- What does the Bible say about loneliness? Jesus endured much suffering during His crucifixion, but it was not until He could no longer feel His Father’s presence that He finally broke and called out in desperation, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”—which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Mark 15:33 (niv) Why do you think God designed us to need each other and His presence in our lives?
- Describe a time when you didn’t feel God’s presence in your life. What led up to it, and how did you get it back?
- The reader never finds out what happens when Lucky leaves to beg Kate to take him back. Do you like loose ends in a story, or would you rather the author neatly tie everything up before the end? Explain.
- Buck is forced to make a decision between holding on to his deceased wife or embracing a new life with Ellen. What are your experiences with death, and how have you coped?
- All of my books end “happily ever after.” What do you think “happily ever after” looks like on earth? In heaven?