Discussion Guide: White Picket Fences

1. Amanda thinks she has the perfect home while Tally's life lacks stability and safety. How do you see this actually being reversed in the story?

2. Why do you think Chase named the fire Ghost? Why might he have felt the need to give the fire a name?

3. What is the significance of Neil's occupation as a financial planner? What do you think that career choice says about him?

4. Do you have any sympathy for Neil's character and the choices he made? Why or why not?

5. What do you think of Bart's parenting skills? Is he a bad father? How do his parenting skills compare with Amanda and Neil's?

6. Why do you think Chase dreamed of Eliasz coming to him in the fire?

7. What, if anything, do Josef and Eliasz represent to Chase?  To Tally?

8. Do you envision Bart eventually finding the jewelry and gold? How do you see the imagined outcome affecting him?

9. Josef says in the last chapter, "[This] is what all survivors must decide. We have to decide how much we will choose to remember and how much courage we are willing to expend to do so." What do you think he means? Do you agree?

10. Did Neil and Amanda make a mistake by never mentioning the fire again after Chase stopped talking about it?

11. Why do you think Chase didn't care for woodworking and instead turned to film-making? Are these two pursuits similar in any way?

12. Are some secrets good to keep? How do we know which ones are meant to be kept?