The Wednesday Letters
Jason F. Wright, 2007
Penguin Group USA
The surprise New York Times bestseller, from an author who delivers "American storytelling at its best."
Jack and Laurel have been married for 39 years. They've lived a good life and appear to have had the perfect marriage. With his wife cradled in his arms, and before Jack takes his last breath, he scribbles his last "Wednesday Letter."
When their adult children arrive to arrange the funeral, they discover boxes and boxes full of love letters that their father wrote to their mother each week on Wednesday. As they begin to open and read the letters, the children begin to uncover the shocking truth about the past. In addition, each one must deal with present-day challenges. Matthew has a troubled marriage, Samantha is a single mother, and Malcolm is the black sheep of the family who has returned home after a mysterious two-year absence.
The Wednesday Letters has a powerful message about forgiveness and quietly beckons for readers to start writing their own "Wednesday Letters." (From the publisher.)
• Birth—February 1, 1971
• Where—Florissant, Missouri, USA
• Reared—in Germany; Virginia and Utah, USA
• Currently—lives in Woodstock, Virginia
Jason Fletcher Wright was near St. Louis, Missouri, to Willard Samuel Wright and Sandra Fletcher Wright. Within months of his birth, Jason's father was transferred to Germany and the family lived and traveled throughout Europe until 1975. They later lived in Chicago, Illinois and Charlottesville, Virginia.
Jason is a New York Times bestselling author and political pundit. He also appeared in the 1990 film Troll 2, one of the lowest-rated movies of all-time, according to the Internet Movie Database (IMDB.com).
His 2007 novel, The Wednesday Letters, reached #6 on the New York Times bestseller list. It also appeared on the Wall Street Journal and USAToday bestseller lists.
His 2005 novel, Christmas Jars, was also a New York Times bestseller, appearing on the paperback list in 2007. Film rights have been optioned by Academy Award winning director Kieth Merrill. The film is scheduled to shoot in the fall of 2008 and reach theaters in 2009.
His debut novel, The James Miracle, was first released in 2004 and will be re-released in 2009.
In addition to his novels, Jason has published opinion editorials (op/eds) on issues ranging from pop culture to politics. His articles have appeared in more than 50 newspapers and magazines across the United States including Glenn Beck's Fusion Magazine, the Washington Times, Chicago Tribune, and Forbes. He also edited and appeared in Americans on Politics, Policy, and Pop Culture: The 101 Best Opinion Editorials From OpEds.com in 2005.
Jason also works as a political and public policy consultant and is the founder of PoliticalDerby.com, a political website known for ranking the candidates running for the White House in 2008
Jason is also a public speaker who has spoken before thousands on writing, service, and various political/social issues. He appears regularly on FoxNews morning show, Fox & Friends. He has also appeared on most major cable news channels including and C-SPAN.
He met and married his wife, Kodi Erekson Wright, in 1993 in Provo, Utah. They now live with their four children in Woodstock, Virginia and are members of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (From Wikipedia.)
In the wake of his bestselling Christmas Jars comes a sweetly crafted story from Wright, a Virginia businessman. Jack and Laurel Cooper are two hardworking, loving Christian pillars of the community who die in each other's arms one night in the bed-and-breakfast that they own and operate. The event calls their three grown children home for the funeral, including their youngest son, a fugitive from the law who must face an outstanding warrant for his arrest and confront his one true love, now engaged to another man. As events unfold around the funeral, the three children discover a treasure trove of family history in the form of "Wednesday letters"-notes that Jack wrote to his wife every single week of their married lives. As they read, the children brush across the fabric of a devoted marriage that survived a devastating event kept secret all these years. It's a lovely story: heartening, wholesome, humorous, suspenseful and redemptive. It resonates with the true meaning of family and the life-healing power of forgiveness all wrapped up in a satisfying ending.
1. Jack’s death was expected, whereas Laurel’s was a surprise. Do you think one way is preferable to the other? Are there things you can do to help prepare yourself for a loved one’s demise?
2. A&P adopts the nickname that others had given to mock her, telling herself, “nicknames mean you matter” (p. 5). Have you ever had a nickname you didn’t like? How might you have turned it around to give it a positive meaning?
3. The youngest Cooper child, Malcolm, has been away for two years. Would he have returned to Woodstock earlier if he’d known his father was dying of cancer? Should he have returned sooner?
4. When Malcolm does return home, he discovers a secret his parents kept from him. Have you ever discovered secrets held by someone you loved after he or she had passed on? How did your discovery affect your feelings about that person?
5. Why did Laurel try to keep Malcolm’s parentage a secret? Would Jack and Malcolm have been happier if she had?
6. When Sam was 17, she ran away to New York City to pursue her dream of having an acting career. Though she got a small part in a show called “Curtains” she eventually stopped pursuing her dream. How and why did this happen? Is it admirable or disappointing that Samantha puts other’s needs ahead of her dreams?
7. When reading her father’s letters, Samantha learns that he paid for the part in the show she got. Yet she’s not angry about this. Why not? Was this the act of a loving parent or a controlling father? Does learning this secret change Samantha’s view of herself?
8. Aside from the Coopers, who is your favorite character and why?
9. oe is finally able to give up alcohol because the girl he nearly killed forgave him—even visiting him and frequently writing him letters while he was in prison. What is the novel saying about the relationship between forgiveness and self-acceptance? Where else are these themes worked through the novel?
10. Matthew and Monica’s marriage is troubled by their childlessness. Would it have lasted if they hadn’t been able to adopt a child? What does a child bring to a couple like Matthew and Monica?
11. What does Nathan’s inability to trust Rain say about him? Is there such a thing as a healthy skepticism?
12. Discuss Malcolm’s development over the course of the novel. How do the letters play a part in his journey to maturity? What is it about letters that gives them such power? When was the last time you wrote a letter?
13. It takes an unusual spirit to forgive your rapist—and even welcome him into your community. Could you—like Jack and Laurel—accept Pastor Doug as a man of God?
14. Does The Wednesday Letters inspire you to start any traditions of your own?
(Questions issued by publisher.)
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