7. The ocean is a motif used throughout the book. Irene ponders on how people in the world seem afloat, adrift, desperate for a lifeline, unable to clearly navigate through the icebergs unseen under the surface. What are some of the images and metaphors used in the book related to the sea, drowning, being adrift, and sinking?
8. Matt is quick to blame his son for the horrible tragedies that occur in the story. Irene tends to blame herself instead of others. Both blaming ourselves and blaming others can be hurtful and destructive. What leads Matt to feeling he is to blame for Daniel’s suicide? And how does this open the door to the beginning of reconciliation with God and healing?
9. Billy has been traumatized and is not even aware of how deeply the betrayal and lies run. But his encounters with Irene help trigger his buried memories, and, in effect, the truth he literally uncovers sets him free. The truth can often be painful, as we also see in Matt’s realization of his harsh treatment of Daniel. How can it, though, lead to healing?
10. In what ways does the theme of forgiveness come into play in the story? Think of all the different people who have to show forgiveness to others and to themselves.
11. Dottie, to me, represents the most dangerous attitude. This sweet, sassy old woman seems harmless. Yet, she is quick to judge and categorize Billy the moment he comes into the store. And when she reads about the death of Grizz, she’s quick to blame Billy without a second thought. She tells Tim she will believe whatever she wants, and she’s proud of it. How is this a dangerous and unchristian attitude we should beware of adopting?
12. Someone to Blame was meant to take the reader on a journey through blame. Only when the reader really learns the truth about Billy, his past, and the things he’s been through, does compassion and understanding come to the fore. Often we are quick to judge others by appearance, without taking the time to get to know them. How does this story about Billy show people are often the way they are because of hard circumstances? How might that understanding make us more compassionate and less quick to judge someone we don’t really know?