All the Pretty Things
Edie Wadsworth

1. The pages of All the Pretty Things are filled, mainly, with the complicated story of Edie and her daddy. What does it mean to be a father? Who has fathered you most throughout your life?

2. Edie’s childhood home in Appalachia plays a key role in her life, almost as if it is another character in her story. Where do you feel deeply rooted? Are there ways that you have been shaped by where you were raised?

3. Edie treasures good memories—though few and far between—of growing up with her daddy, “dancing one off ” on the side of the road and making him bologna sandwiches served with a glass of buttermilk. What are some of your favorite childhood moments with your parents?

4. When Edie cut her foot and went to the emergency room, it was quite a dramatic experience for a little girl. But later it became one of her favorite memories and even impacted what she would choose to do when she grew up. In your own life, what experiences have impacted the purpose God has called you to?

5. Hearing someone criticize us, whether a teacher or peer or even a parent, can cause different reactions. Edie used these comments to fuel her quest to prove her family and friends wrong. Has someone ever made comments about you and your abilities that deeply impacted you? How did you react and what did you do?

6. When Daddy met Shirley, Edie witnessed a glimpse of the amazing transformation that faith can have on a person. Where have you seen this redemptive power in your own life?

7. Though Daddy’s faith transformation ended up impacting his life only temporarily, it planted a permanent seed in Edie’s life—one that would take root and guide her through her future. What are some ways we can plant seeds of faith in the people around us?

8. Against all odds, Edie finds Jesus, escapes her Appalachian childhood, and “makes doctor.” She excels in her career, gets married, and has two beautiful children—but then she burns it all down, destroying everything she has gained. If you feel comfortable doing so, share an experience in which you finally achieved all your greatest dreams . . . then self- destructed. What did God teach you in this season?

9. For Edie, Daddy was “her person”—it was her responsibility to take care of him, making sure he was looked after. Yet, the relationship feels uneven, and Edie struggles to make sense of the way Daddy abandons her and fails to show up when she needs him. What is your relationship with your parents? How has it shaped the way you interact with your loved ones?

10. Tragically, Edie’s home as an adult burns down, echoing the trauma of her past. How do we reconcile God’s goodness and the tragedies of our life? In what ways do you see beauty in the ashes of your experiences?

11. Edie describes All the Pretty Things as “the story of my homecoming . . . my cliff jump.” How can we use our past—the dark and lonely parts as well as the joyous and courageous—to bring glory to our true Father?

 

Notes