Book Club Discussion Questions for FRIDAY MORNINGS AT NINE:
**A Doubleday Book Club & Book-of-the-Month Club Featured Alternate Selection for October 2010**
In this modern fairy tale about three women, three marriages and what happens a decade or two after the Happily Ever After, three suburban moms discuss their lives, their families…and their first time contemplating an affair.
1. Discuss the personalities of three main characters in the novel–Bridget, Tamara and Jennifer. How are they different? Are there any similarities between them?
2. This novel is told from multiple points of view. Which character was the most compelling to you? Who did you most relate to? Did you find that you had a different favorite character at the end of the novel than you did at the beginning?
3. Consider the role of friendship in the book. Were these women good friends? Did they become closer or more distant as the novel progressed? Did one woman have a better understanding of the behavior and/or motivation of one friend versus another at different points in the story? How are your friendships similar or different to those of these women?
4. A fairy-tale theme is present throughout the book. Which woman was tied to which famous fairy tale? Was it a good fit? Do you think women in modern society have been conditioned to look at relationships, particularly marriage, as a kind of fairy tale come true? If so, is this a healthy expectation to bring to a committed relationship?
5. Has there ever been a person from your past that you considered “the one who got away”? A romantic relationship you’ve never had closure on and it has haunted you for years? Perhaps, a powerful physical chemistry with somebody, but you didn’t follow through on it, and you secretly still wish you would–or could–have acted upon that impulse? How far do you take those fantasies? Do you Google these people? Ask mutual acquaintances about them? And to what degree do you regret not having the chance to find out what might have happened?
6. Should people in a marriage be required to be faithful? Why or why not? Is your belief based upon religious principles? Family values? Personal experiences? And should fidelity be judged only by the crossing of a physical line? If so, where is that line? (i.e., When a married individual hugs someone other than his/her spouse? Kisses another? Has sex with another?) Or is the line an emotional one? Is an act of infidelity committed when emotions and confidences are shared with someone outside of the marriage?
7. How does the author use the season of fall as a metaphor in the story? Do you see anything symbolic in having one of the major turning points of the novel happening at Halloween, specifically, at a party devoted to games of pretense and disguise?
8. Music from the 1970s provides the soundtrack for this novel, even though the story takes place in the present day. Were you familiar with the songs referenced in the book? If so, did you feel they were good choices for the musical subtext?
9. Discuss the roles of women as wives, mothers and working professionals. What challenges do women face when they return to the workforce after devoting time to raising their children? What fears do they have about themselves and their relationships when those children leave the nest and the couple goes back to being alone at home again?
10. What do you think the future holds for each of the women in the story? Will they all find happiness in love? What does it take to have a good relationship? A successful marriage? Can a marriage survive an affair? If not, why not? If so, what would need to happen next to strengthen the married couple’s bond?
SPECIAL BOOK CLUB FEATURES:
If you’d like to see me on the air, click HERE to get to my appearance on “Great Day St. Louis,” where I did a live TV interview on Monday, October 4, 2010 and got to chat about Friday Mornings at Nine!!