reveal about himsel? About Alice Hayward’s lieand death? What does he not reveal? Did youimmediately trust his point o view? Why or why not? What words would you use to describehim? Do you think he’d use the same words todescribe himsel?
When he recalls Alice Hayward’s baptism,Reverend Drew remembers the word “there”in a poignant way, comparing the last word Alice spoke to him with Christ’s last wordson the cross. Why do you think this simple word—“there”—is given such weighty impor-tance? How is it related to what Reverend Drew calls “the seeds o my estrangement rom my calling” (page 13)?
Reverend Drew says o his calling to thechurch: “All I can tell you is I believe I wassent” (page 44). He then delves into a grisly description o the Crucifxion (pages 45–48),recalling the frst time he studied it in highschool. With what we know about ReverendDrew up to this point, how did this revelationhelp you understand him? Were you drawnin or repulsed by his fxation?
How does Reverend Drew explain hisspiritual breakdown? Was there one moment when he lost his aith (Alice’s baptism, herdeath) or was it the result o a series o events? What kind o response did you have to hisbreakdown? One o empathy? Curiosity?Suspicion?
PART II: Catherine Benincasa 8.
Beore we hear rom Catherine in her ownvoice, we see her through Reverend Drew’seyes. What is your frst impression o herrom his perspective? Does that impressionchange once you see things rom her pointo view? What words would you use todescribe Catherine?
Catherine says o Reverend Drew, “the guy hadice in his veins . . .[a] serial-killer vibe” (page106). How does this compare with how heportrays himsel? Do you think Catherine seesReverend Drew clearly based on what she knows?Is she jumping to conclusions, or making use o her intuition and the hard truths she’s learnedthroughout her grueling years on the job?
At one point, Catherine says, “I know the di-erence between mourning and grie” (page193). What do you think she means by this? Doyou agree that there’s a dierence? How wouldyou describe the reactions, so ar, o ReverendDrew, Heather, and Katie to the terrible eventsthey’re aced with—as mourning or grie?
PART III: Heather Laurent 11.
By the time we get to the section narrated by Heather, we’ve seen her rom both ReverendDrew’s and Catherine Benincasa’s points o view, and we’ve read excerpts rom her books.How would you describe her? Do you agree with Drew that she’s “unappably serene…anindividual whose competence was maniest and whose sincerity was phosphorescent” (page 65),or do you agree with pathologist David Den-nison’s take on her: “‘Angel o death. I’m tellingyou: at woman is as stable as a three- leggedchair” (page 182)?
Heather’s section begins with her description o her frst encounter with an angel: she’s a young woman, lost in the depths o depression, and in-tends to commit suicide (pages 225–232). How would you interpret this moment? What does itreveal about how she deals with the deaths o herparents? About how she sees the world?
Reverend Drew and Catherine Benincasa bothprovide graphic descriptions o crimes andcrime scenes—the Haywards’ and others—butHeather’s memories o the violence between herparents is particularly grim. How do you reactto reading these passages?
SECRETS OF EDEN
BY CHRIS BOHJALIAN
BY KIRA WALTON