Christmas List (Evans)

Discussion Questions 
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Also consider these LitLovers talking points to help get a discussion started for The Christmas List:

1. Talk about James Kier—the kind of character he is at the beginning of this book. What are the numerous ways he has damaged peoples' lives and poisoned his relationships? Is there anything in his character that can be admired?

2. What is the irony behind the alleged "heart attack"?

3. Kier wants to make amends, but he depends on his secretary to draw up the list of those he has hurt. Why, if his desire for redemption is genuine, doesn't he create the list for himself? Shouldn't he have been the one to make it?

4. Why are there only five on the list? What makes them most significant offenses in Linda's eyes?

5. Of all the characters, which one moved you the most in this book? What about Sara, for instance? How would you characterize her love? Anyone else?

6. Much is made of this book in comparison to Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol. Have you read Dickens's book, and if so, what similarities do you find?

7. The healing power of forgiveness is one of the strongest themes in the novel. Forgiveness is a mysterious force: how does it do its work in this book? Who is forgiven and who is healed? In your own life, how difficult/easy is it to forgive?

8. Does this book inspire you to take a deeper look at your own life—to give yourself a long look in the mirror? Have you ever considered writing your own obituary? What do you think others might say about you after you're gone?

9. In The Christmas List, Evans raises the issue of second chances in life. Absent a return from the grave or a bizarre chance occurrence like Kier has, are second chances possible in life? What would you do over again...or make amends for?

10. Were you surprised and engaged by the many twists and turns in story line—or did you find the plot contrived or predictable? What about the ending—does it satisfy and, if so, why? Or do you wish for a different outcome? If so, what?

11. In what way is James Kier transformed by the end of the book? Go back to the Kier at the beginning of the book—what deep down in his personality enabled the transformation to take hold in the first place? What do you foresee for him in the future?

12. Over all, what do you consider as the authentic Christmas message (or messages) found in Evans's book?

13. Have you read Evans's trilogy—The Christmas Box, The Timepiece, and The Letter? If so, how does this one compare with the others? Does List fit in, thematically, with the trilogy (creating a quartet)? Or is it a distinct stand-alone? If you have not read any of Paul Richard Evans books, does this one make you want to read his others?

(Questions by LitLovers. Please feel free to use them, online or off, with attribution. Thanks.)

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