A Gentle Rain Readers' Guide

1. In A Gentle Rain, Florida rancher Ben Thocco employs a group of mentally handicapped ranch hands. In recent decades the mainstreaming of handicapped people has become the norm. Do you think more progress can be made in that area?

2. Kara Whittenbrook only learned she was adopted after her adoptive parents died. Are you for or against open adoption records?

3. When Ben learns that Kara is a wealthy heiress, he wonders if a man and woman can be equal partners when their money status is drastically unequal. Do you think it's still difficult for men to have less money and/or be less famous than their wives?

4. When you think of Florida, do you think of cattle ranches? Discuss your Florida perspectives and experiences.

5. Kara, like her adoptive parents, is committed to environmental causes. What are you views on environmental issues?

6. Kara is a moderate vegetarian who eats dairy and fish, but no beef, chicken or pork. Could you be happy eating that way?

7. Have you ever eaten alligator meat?

8. Do you imagine that extremely wealthy people are happier and more relaxed than the rest of us?

9. If you suddenly won the lottery, what would you do with the money?

10. Kara keeps a pinch of her parents' ashes in a gold locket she wears. How do you feel about the modern practice of keeping and displaying loved ones' ashes? Do you have any personal stories to share?