Hannibal Free Public Library

A Gracious Plenty

Sheri Reynolds

March 30, 2015

Badly burned in a household accident when she was a child, Finch Nobles grows into a courageous and feisty loner who eschews the pity of her hometown and discovers that she can hear the voices of the people buried in her father's cemetery. Finally, when she speaks to them, they answer, telling their stories in a remarkable chorus of regrets, explanations, and insights.    

  1. What significance do the names of the characters have in the novel?
  1. What scars does each character in the story have?  Are they as damaging as Finch’s scars?
  1. Is Finch herself guilty of judging people by appearances and superficial behavior, as Lucy suggests on page 56?
  1. How does the incident with the teenagers in the cemetery mark a change in Finch's attitudes toward the living? 
  1. When Finch and Leonard investigate William Blott's property, does their image in the mirror reveal a different reality to Finch about herself?
  1. Why is Finch excluded from the activities of the Dead when she brings Lucy flowers, and why does William's music make her feel further estranged? How does the evening signal a change in Finch's understanding of her relationship with the Dead?
  1. Why does Reba Baker declare Finch her next project?
  1. Is it important for Lois to admit that Lucy killed herself or will it destroy Lois's sanity?
  1. Why is Finch so reluctant to leave the cemetery when warned to go by her father and the Mediator?
  1. Do Finch’s isolation and her often provocative behavior belie her constant declarations that she fully accepts her disfigurement?
  1. What lessons does Finch learn from Lucy's stories about her wayward life and from Lois's secret admiration for it?
  1. How does William Blott's life as a cross-dresser and Reba's scrubbing graffiti off his grave influence the decisions Finch faces at the end of the novel?
  1. Did the vision of life after death presented in the novel disturb you? Can you reconcile Reynolds's description with more traditional religious views?
  1. A Gracious Plenty has been compared to Steinbeck and Faulkner, Spoon River Anthology and Our Town.  What comparisons can you make?


Adapted from http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/gracious-plenty-sheri reynolds/1103275560?ean=9780609602256 and http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/94564.A_Gracious_Plenty