To Dance With the White Dog

To Dance With the White Dog

Sam Peek's children are worried. Since that "saddest day" when Cora, his beloved wife of fifty-seven good years, died, no one knows how he will survive. How can this elderly man live alone on his farm? How can he keep driving his dilapidated truck down to the fields to care for his few rows of pecan trees? And when Sam begins telling his children about a dog as white as the pure driven snow -- that seems invisible to everyone but him -- his children think that grief and old age have finally taken their toll.
But whether the dog is real or not, Sam Peek -- "one of the smartest men in the South when it comes to trees" -- outsmarts them all. Sam and the White Dog will dance from the pages of this bittersweet novel and into your heart, as they share the mystery of life, and begin together a warm and moving final rite of passage.
Winner of the Southeastern Library Association's Outstanding Author Award.
  • Washington Square Press | 
  • 192 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780671726737 | 
  • November 1991
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Reading Group Guide

Questions and Topics for Discussion

1) Why do you think the author chose to tell the story from a third person omniscient point of view instead of using a first person narrator? How might your reading experience have been affected had it been told only through the eyes of Sam?
2) How do outside forces, like weather, seem to play upon what the main character may be feeling? In what ways does the physical world relate to what is happening in Sam's emotional landscape? Why does the author choose to develop this parallel between Sam and the world that surrounds him? What do we learn about him that we might not otherwise learn?
3) Sam's journal is a substantive part of this novel and becomes more and more important as the story moves on. In chapter thirteen, his journal entries make up nearly the entire chapter. In what ways is this journal almost like a character in and of itself? How does it help shape plot, and what kind of insights does it give us into Sam's loneliness and his love for his family? If the journal entries had been left out, how would this novel be different?
4) Talk about setting as it is presented in this novel. How does the serene, natural beauty of the farm highlight larger themes that the author may be trying to explore?
5) Kate and Carrie's concern for their father, and their desire to treat him like a child or an invalid, reaches an almost comic level at many points in this novel. All children worry about elderly parent see more

More Books from this Author

The Valley of Light
Shadow Song

About the Author

Terry Kay
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Terry Kay

Terry Kay's novels include Taking Lottie Home, The Runaway, Shadow Song, and the now-classic To Dance with the White Dog, twice nominated for the American Booksellers Book of the Year Award, and winner of the Southeastern Library Association Book of the Year Award. Terry Kay has been married for 44 years and has four children and seven grandchildren. He lives in Athens, Georgia.