Reading Group Guide

for Reunion at Red Paint Bay

1. At the core of the story is the allegation of a date rape occurring on the graduation night of Simon Howe, 25 years before. There is no explicit description of that event, but rather, it is portrayed in flashes of Simon’s memory as well as the comments of his stalker, Paul. Why does the author leave the description up to the different perspectives of the characters? Can you get a clear picture of what happened that night?

2. Simon is presented in the beginning as a conscientious family man and newspaper editor. How does your opinion of him change by the end of the book?

3. Personal responsibility is a theme that is explored in several characters. Discuss the relative responsibility Simon should feel for how Jean’s life turned out. Can a person be held responsible for an act he didn’t even know he committed?

4. What is the purpose of the character David Rigero, a former prisoner and rapist, in the novel?

5. Being familiar with the stories of many abused women, Amy tries to get Simon to acknowledge that he raped Jean. Does she seem too hard on him—too ready to assume his guilt? Does she act more like a therapist than a spouse who might naturally give him the benefit of the doubt?

6. Simon defends his newspaper’s policy of running all the local police news, even when it might embarrass someone. Does he keep to that standard regarding his own life?

7. Should a person be judged by the worst thing he may have done in his life? Simon asks this question of himself while sitting in traffic with Amy. What examples are there in the news of people who have made single bad decisions that have wiped out otherwise respectable reputations? What determines whether we judge a person based on a single act or his or her whole life?

8. Simon and Amy spar frequently over exactly what happened that graduation night, whether it was a date rape or not. Are the arguments equally strong on both sides or favor one?

9. Simon has a second chance at taking responsibility in his life when he must decide whether to save Paul, who appears floundering in the lake. Is Simon’s hesitation understandable considering the threat his stalker poses or another example of his not doing the right thing?

10. At the end of the book, Simon is sinking in the water of Red Paint Bay, wondering what comes next for him. Do you expect that he can mend his relationship with Amy? Will she forgive him? Does he even want forgiveness?

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