Hand of Fate Discussion Questions: Lis Wiehl


1.    Are there certain functions, such as ensuring the safety of our food supply, that require more government regulation to keep us safe? Or are we in danger of becoming a nanny state, as Jim charges?



2.    Jim Fate chooses to stay in his studio, rather than risk his co-workers' lives. Do you think you could have done that if you were in his shoes? Or do you think that one never knows how one will react until the moment happens?



3.    Have you ever been in a situation where people were panicking? Rudyard Kipling said, "If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs ... you'll be a man, my son." How hard was it to keep your head?



4.    It's been nine years since the 9-11 terrorist attacks. Do you think people have grown more complacent, thinking they won't happen again?



5.    Do you have a strong friendship with a small group of other women the way Cassidy, Allison and Nicole do? Or do you think that kind of close friendship is too hard to maintain in today's hectic world, with the pull of work, school, and family?



6.    Cassidy becomes addicted to a sleeping aid, called Somulex in the book. Do you think our society has gotten over-reliant on drugs to help with common problems, like sleeplessness or anxiety? Have we made it too easy to get for people to get drugs?



7.    In Hand of Fate, the city of Portland is on the brink of a huge disaster. Have you made any family preparations in case of a disaster? What are two or three things you could do to be prepared in case you had to shelter in your home for several days? Have you made plans for what to do in case you are separated from your family due to work or school?



8.    Many children are born in America to parents who entered the country illegally. Obviously these babies have no say in where they are born. Does automatically conferring citizenship make our country stronger or weaker? Is America a melting pot, a salad bowl, or something else entirely? What about children who are brought to this country as toddlers or small children? They may have no familiarity with their "home" country, but still face deportation.



9.    Like Allison, many Americans do not speak a second language. Only one in four Americans can speak a second language well enough to carry on a conversation. English has become the default second language in most parts of the world. Do you think it hurts Americans if they can't speak another language? Many high schools require two years of a language as a graduation requirement. Do you think that's a good idea?



10.    Does listening to talk radio make you anxious or energized? Has the country has become too polarized, with arguments verging on the extreme on both sides?



11.    As a black woman in the FBI, Nicole often feels to be in a double minority. Has their ever been a time when you felt out of place? Why? What did you do about it? Have you ever seen someone feeling out of place in a group? What did you do to make them feel welcome?



12.    Do you think that the 24 hour news cycle has been detrimental, focusing on fleeting, unimportant stories? Or does it bring to light problems that were previously ignored, or help solve crimes, such as in the case of the kidnapped Elizabeth Smart?



13.    Some think that political campaigns moved too far away from the issues to focus on exterior, unimportant things, like unflattering photographs of candidates looking crazy or overweight. What do you think? If a campaign focused only on the truthfully reporting the issues, could it succeed?



14.    Jim gets lots of hate mail every day, mostly email. Do you think email has made people less civil? Or is that words can sound harsher when delivered in an email? Have you ever had a misunderstanding due to an email being taken in a different way than it was meant?



15.    Cassidy goes on air to talk about her experiences with domestic violence. Do you think people are still reluctant to speak openly about domestic violence? Have you tried to help someone who was in a violent relationship? Was your help welcome?



16.    Allison has to deal with the loss of a pregnancy. Have you ever had to deal with a loss that seemed unbearable? What was it and how did you deal with it?



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