Cutting Teeth: Book Club Discussion Guide
I’d be honored to be a part of your book club discussion about Cutting Teeth — in person, if you live in within driving distance of NYC, or via Skype if you are further away.
The 17 sample questions below are designed to enhance your reading group’s discussion of Cutting Teeth. No spoilers, I promise!
I’m also happy to answer any questions you might have.
1. Many of the characters in the novel keep substantial secrets from one another for a variety of reasons. Whose do you think is the most damaging, and why?
2. Which of the characters’ storylines were you most interested in reading, and resonated with you most? Why?
3. Which character’s central dilemma evoked the most sympathy from you? Why?
4. Nicole conceals her anxiety because she is afraid it will make her seem “crazy” and because she feels ashamed. Do you think, in spite of widespread knowledge today about depression and anxiety, particularly postpartum depression, there is still a stigma?
5. The epigraph to the novel is:
How does this relate to Cutting Teeth, and do you think it applies to more than one character?
6. Who is more of an outsider from among the group: Tiffany or Samten or Rip? Why?
7. Do you think the difference between being a stay-at-home mom or a mother with a career outside the home still creates barriers between women? Have you witnessed mothers judging others mothers (and themselves) for these choices?
8. What was your interpretation of Leigh’s feelings for Tiffany? Of Tiffany’s feelings for Leigh?
9. Do you think Leigh and Tiffany’s friendship might have evolved differently in a pre-cell phone era?
10. Do you think the dynamics of the romantic partnerships in the book are unique to contemporary times? How might they have manifested in an earlier generation?
11. What character were you “rooting” for the most?
12. Who is the “best” parent among the group and why? Who is the worst? Why?
13. If Hank was your child, would allow him his princess dress?
14. Should Susanna and Allie stay together?
15. Agree or disagree: Parenthood, the way adults now generally relate to their children, insofar as it is depicted in Cutting Teeth, has evolved in a positive way
16. Who committed the worst “crime” in the book? Why? Whose “bad behavior” is most justifiable and why?
17. Cutting Teeth compares the characters’ expectations for their mid-life experience with the reality of their day-to-day lives? Do you feel your life is well balanced right now, and does it match the expectations your younger self had ten years ago? Why or why not? Do you think those closest to you would be surprised at the way you’d answer that question?