Sometimes you have to break a family to fix it.
From New York Times bestselling author Kristan Higgins, a new novel examining a family at the breaking point in all its messy, difficult, wonderful complexity.
The Frosts are a typical American family. Barb and John, married almost fifty years, are testy and bored with each other...who could blame them after all this time? At least they have their daughters Barb's favorite, the perfect, brilliant Juliet; and John's darling, the free-spirited Sadie. The girls themselves couldn't be more different, but at least they got along, more or less. It was fine. It was enough.
Until the day John had a stroke, and their house of cards came tumbling down.
Now Sadie has to put her career as a teacher and struggling artist in New York on hold to come back and care for her beloved dadand face the love of her life, whose heart she broke, and who broke hers. Now Juliet has to wonder if people will notice that despite her perfect career as a successful architect, her perfect marriage to a charming Brit, and her two perfect daughters, she's spending an increasing amount of time in the closet having panic attacks.
And now Barb and John will finally have to face what's been going on in their marriage all along.
From the author of Good Luck with That and Life and Other Inconveniences comes a new novel of heartbreaking truths and hilarious honesty about what family really means.
|Publisher:||Penguin Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.96(d)|
About the Author
Kristan Higgins is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of nearly twenty novels, which have been translated into more than two dozen languages and have sold millions of copies worldwide. She lives in Connecticut with her husband, two children and dogs. If you want to know when Kristan's next book will be out and hear news of her appearances, subscribe to her mailing list at www.kristanhiggins.com.
Reading Group Guide
Always the Last to Know by Kristan Higgins
Questions for Discussion
1. Relationships take a lot of compromise, and we can see Noah demonstrating this when he tries to live in New York for Sadie. Sadie also compromises, telling him to go back home when it’s clear he’s unhappy in the city she loves. For the sake of their relationship, do you think Sadie should have compromised the lifestyle she always wanted, or do you agree that they were too young at that point to make such large sacrifices?
2. What is the right time to adjust your dreams for someone else? The author makes no secret that Sadie and Noah love each other, but neither feels at home in the other’s world. Do you think one of them should have bent a little more, or do you think they made the right choices? (Also, how unromantic were Noah’s marriage proposals?)
3. Were you surprised with Barb’s decision in the end, despite everything that happened and went wrong in her and John’s marriage? Why do you think she chose what she did? What do you think about her view on marriage as opposed to what John’s actions told us about his?
4. Juliet has a memorable visit to a plastic surgeon. We’ve all felt the pressure to look or act a certain way because of our age or what society deems appropriate or good. Can you think of a particular circumstance in which this happened? How did you handle it?
5. Have you ever felt the way Juliet did: that the window was closing on your chances, or that you’d aged out of an opportunity? What did you think of Arwen? Is she arrogant or just confident? Juliet is careful never to stoop to gossiping or complaining about Arwen, yet her confusion is obvious. Have you been in a similar situation?
6. How could both John and Barb have done things differently to understand each other and keep their marriage happy? They’re not happy for a long time, but do you think they’re just accustomed to the status quo? Do you know any long-married couples who seem to be getting things right? What are some keys to a long, happy relationship, or is that a myth?
7. One of the many types of relationships we see in this novel is the co-parenting relationship between Noah and Mickey. Though they aren’t romantically involved, their relationship is one of the most functional partnerships in the book. How do you think they make it work? Do you think this kind of relationship could work for you?
8. The theme of not being good enough is prevalent in this book, including feelings of not being a good mom, partner or artist. Can you relate to any of the insecurities that the characters feel? Do you tackle these insecurities head-on or ignore them and hope better days are ahead? Everyone feels insecure or inadequate at some point in their lives. What are some positive ways to deal with that?
9. Caro and Barb have such a close, loving and unconditional friendship that truly makes them soul mates. How does it differ from Barb’s relationship with John? What do you think are the key factors that brought Caro and Barb together and make their relationship work? How are the women different, and how are they the same? Who is your oldest or closest friend? What makes your friendship special?
10. Do you think reading John’s perspective throughout the book made you a little more forgiving toward him? How might you have felt had the author decided to include only the Frost women’s points of view?
11. In what ways do Juliet and her daughters’ relationships reflect her own mother’s relationships with Juliet and Sadie? What do you think of Juliet and Barb as mothers? If you’re a mother yourself, have you struggled with one child more than another?
12. The Frost women are quite different from one another. To whom do you relate the most? Can you see yourself in all of them?