Reading Group Guide for Grace at Low Tide

1. Edisto Island is an untamed, subtropical terrain that is frighteningly majestic. What role do the following natural elements play in heightening the drama of the story: the pluff mud, the darkness, and the tide?

2. Consider the impact this setting has upon the following characters: DeVeaux, Billy, Mrs. Shuzuki, and Cousin Eli.

3. DeVeaux is uprooted and her socio-economic world is turned on its head. Worst of all, she is trapped in a family that grows increasingly more dysfunctional as the plot unfolds. How is her faith tested? What mistakes does she make? Why doesn’t she give up?

4. Describe a situation in your life that seemed hopeless. How was the situation resolved?

5. Despite his flaws, do you sympathize with Billy? Name all of the unwanted people, pets and possessions in his life. How does he attempt to rid himself of these unwanted belongings? Does he succeed?

6. Have you tried to throw away something that keeps coming back to you? In what ways have you rejected or accepted the unwelcome people and possessions that have become permanent fixtures in your life?

7. Why is Billy preoccupied with restoring the Sunfish Sailboat from his youth? What does the boat symbolize?

8. Examine the cross-cultural exchanges between the characters. Consider the following scenes:

- Sagi and his family spying on the deer hunting ritual on Christmas Day.

- Tina at DeVeaux’s Charleston church.

- The oyster roast with the Pelzer and Davidson families.

- C.C. and DeVeaux on their first date.

- DeVeaux at the “Lost Weekend” party at Sal’s.

9. Identify the strengths and deficiencies in the spiritual lives of Mama and DeVeaux. Compare and contrast their faith to that of Maum Bess.

10. Bethany, the Youth Minister, urges DeVeaux to wait for the story to unfold. DeVeaux tries to be patient, but as her situation worsens, she resorts to writing fabrications on her prep school application in order to find a way out. What does the novel say about waiting?

11. Describe a time in your own life when you became impatient and rushed ahead.

12. The relationship between Billy and Cousin Eli plays a crucial role in the plot’s resolution. What action must Billy take toward his niece in order to allow a new hope to penetrate the DeLoach family?

13. Grace is defined as the freely given, unmerited favor and love of God. In what way has grace made its way into the heart of DeVeaux’s family?

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