On Her Way Home - Discussion Guide

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Discussion Guide

  1. After six grueling years, Frieda begs Bennie to leave Dos Cacahuates, but he won't budge. With two children and another on the way, she grudgingly remains. What does this impasse suggest about their relationship? 
  2. Her spirits noticeably lift when first her fourteen-year-old sister, then the Rutherford family, educated easterners, arrive for the winter. What kind of companionship and pursuits do the newcomers bring to the Arizona-Sonora border settlement?  
  3. Does she overvalue the admiration and affection the Rutherfords heap on her sister? If so, why? 
  4. Why does Frieda recommend Jed Pearson as hired hand for their scenic tour of the Arizona Territory? 
  5. Her father forbade Frieda to send Ida with the Rutherfords. What in Frieda's youth prompted her to lie to her father, and encourage her sister to do the same? 
  6. When catastrophe strikes, the shock hastens the premature birth of Frieda's third child, a long-desired daughter. Immobilized with guilt and grief, she's unable to care for, or even see the infant. Which aspects of the tragedy render her helpless? 
  7. How did you react when Frieda regains her strength via A Woman's Guide Through Troublous Times and focuses it exclusively on finding her sister? Does the book's strict regimen estrange her from her Dos Cacahuates family? Or does it assist her in doing what she is compelled to do? 
  8. What do you think of Sheriff Follett? Of Ida's condition when Frieda reclaims her? Of the cautious assistance she receives from Prescott Jewish community? Which of the other diverse personalities she encounters interested or irritated you? 
  9. To free Ida, Frieda is forced to befriend and assist Jed Pearson. What new burden does her relationship with him impose on her?  
  10. Frieda has survived a lone battle with realities of life in the Arizona Territory. What has she learned about where she is, and where and what she comes from?