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Have a Nice Guilt Trip
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Discussion Questions > Have a Nice Guilt Trip by Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella

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St. Martin's Press (stmartinspress) | 163 comments Mod
Apropos the title, Lisa introduces the book with an essay about guilt, and how it fits into our lives. Who do you think feel more guilt—men or women—and why do you think that is true? What is it that makes you feel most guilty? What are the negative and positive effects of feeling guilty? Does society add to our guilt, and how can women, specifically, support each other to counteract guilt? Lisa always jokes that the wrong people have all the guilt, and the people who should feel guilty don’t feel guilty enough. Is she right?


St. Martin's Press (stmartinspress) | 163 comments Mod
In “Baby Fever,” Francesca explores the pressure and expectations on young women to have a baby. Where do you think the greater pressure comes from, internal ticking clock or societal expectations? Is it a good thing, or is it more part of a task-oriented approach to life? Mothering can come in many different forms. Do you have a maternal instinct, and in what ways is it evident? Is the term “maternal instinct” sexist? If you’re a woman and you don’t have a maternal instinct, does it make you feel bad about yourself? Can men have a maternal instinct? Certainly they can be excellent fathers. What do you think?


St. Martin's Press (stmartinspress) | 163 comments Mod
In essays by both Lisa and Francesca, we begin to see the sad decline of their beloved Mother Mary, Lisa’s mother and Francesca’s grandmother, from very different perspectives. In what ways is the experience different for each of them? With whom do you most identify, Mother Mary, Lisa, or Francesca? Do you have any experience losing a family member? Do you like the way this family uses humor to cope, or do you think doing so is disrespectful? Humor can be so prevalent in the process of coping with a difficult family situation that it almost becomes its own character. How do you and your family deal with the more difficult parts of life?


St. Martin's Press (stmartinspress) | 163 comments Mod
Francesca, once a native of the Philadelphia suburbs, is really embracing and thriving in her urban New York City environment. She has found new love with a boyfriend and community at the farmers’ market, but it takes courage to live alone and make your way in a big city. What risks have you taken in your life? Did they pay off—how or why not? Do you have regrets for the chances you have taken in life, or do you regret the risks you didn’t take? Knowing what you know now, would you take the risk again?


St. Martin's Press (stmartinspress) | 163 comments Mod
Lisa isn’t officially part of the Sandwich Generation, since Francesca is grown, but a mother never stops worrying about her child, so we think she still qualifies. Worrying about an aging parent and a growing child can take its toll. What advice would you give to a friend facing the same challenges? In what ways can women make sure they are taking care of themselves, even while caring for others? Why is it so hard for women to say no, and is guilt a natural by-product?


message 6: by St. Martin's Press (last edited Jun 10, 2016 11:42AM) (new)

St. Martin's Press (stmartinspress) | 163 comments Mod
Lisa and Francesca both decide to take on new hobbies. Francesca begins rollerblading and Lisa plants a garden or, more accurately, a nursery. Both new endeavors come with some false starts, but also unexpected learning opportunities. What are your hobbies, and how have they helped shape your life? What do you do to relax? When do you feel most satisfied and at peace? By the way, reading counts. How do you feel about reading? Does it enrich your soul, the way Lisa thinks it does for her? Isn’t your book club part of the fabric of your life? Aren’t books?


St. Martin's Press (stmartinspress) | 163 comments Mod
Like many people, Lisa and Francesca both love to give gifts and put a lot of thought into the perfect present, as Francesca did for her new boyfriend. What is the best present you have ever given?
What is the best gift you have ever received? Are you a last-minute shopper or a long-term planner? What is one gift you never received that you wish you did? Are there any gifts you have given that backfired? What was it? Are you one of those people who loves the holidays, or you one of those people who can’t wait until they’re over with? Again, do we fall into the pitfall of making this task-oriented even around the holidays, so we can’t wait to get all our boxes checked and put away tree and other holiday paraphernalia?


St. Martin's Press (stmartinspress) | 163 comments Mod
Whether it is a home remedy for colds or how to cook the perfect Eggplant Parm, Mother Mary always seems to be right. What is the best advice you have ever gotten from your mother? What is the worst? When you are making a tough decision, do you hear your mother’s voice in your head, and if so, do you listen? If you were to give your mother one piece of advice, what would it be? Would she take it? Would she feel guilty if she didn’t? Apply these questions to your father, for a moment. How were your answers the same, and how are they different?


St. Martin's Press (stmartinspress) | 163 comments Mod
In “The Married-Ex Milestone,” Francesca writes about learning on Facebook that her ex-boyfriend was married—the angst it created, but also the kick in the pants. Have you ever experienced a similar shock on social media? Do you enjoy keeping up with past friends and past flames online, or does it cause more stress? What events in your life provided an unexpected milestone or turning point? Did you recognize it in the moment or only in hindsight?


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