Acclaimed novelist Whitney Gaskell has delighted readers with her refreshing, down-to-earth tales of friendship, relationships, and daring decisions to chase a dream. In Mommy Tracked
, she turns her eye to motherhood, introducing us to four moms who find comfort and sanity in each other while struggling to maintain balanced lives. Anna is a single mother, still reeling from a divorce and annoyed by her mother’s advice to find a man soon, despite Anna’s deep-seated fears of falling in love. Grace has a terrific husband and three endearing little girls, yet her stepmother’s degrading remarks lead her to take dangerous measures in the quest to be thin after pregnancy. Juliet is a powerful attorney whose stay-at-home husband does such a great job of caring for their twins that she has begun to wonder whether she is even a part of her own family anymore. The newest addition to their group of friends, Chloe, watches helplessly as her husband shirks his dad duties in favor of living like a carefree bachelor. Together, these charismatic women will transform their lives … while making time for play dates too.
The questions and discussion topics that follow are intended to enhance your reading of Whitney Gaskell’s Mommy Tracked.
We hope they will enrich your experience of this wry and witty novel.
Questions and Topics for Discussion
1. Which of the characters did you identify with the most? What common threads link each of their dilemmas?
2. What does Anna’s mother teach her about parenting, and about love? Is your life similar to how your mother’s was when she was your age?
3. Grace’s husband, Louis, is caring and responsible–unusual for dads in Mommy Tracked. Are men like him equally rare in real life? Do fathers like James overlook their paternal duties intentionally, or without realizing it?
4. The sexpert and waxing session for Mothers Coming Together helped the women feel alluring again. What activities would you propose if you joined a group like Mothers Coming Together?
5. Discuss the article Chloe wrote that led to the rift between her and Juliet. Why did Juliet’s depiction of Patrick offend him so deeply? Is it equally insulting when working dads deliver similar descriptions of their stay-at-home wives?
6. How would you have responded to Noah’s stories about his previous fiancées? What would it have taken for him to earn your trust?
7. Was Juliet tempted to sleep with Alex solely because of his good looks, or was something else motivating her? Was her road to near-infidelity a typical one?
8. What did Chloe’s experience with Fiona Watson demonstrate about the struggles and ostracism faced by many mothers with newborns? Which segments of society seem the most and the least accepting of babies and their moms?
9. Ultimately, what strategies proved to be the most effective in conquering absentee dads (and, in the case of Juliet, moms)? Would change have ever occurred without extreme measures?
10. Would you have given up a promotion like the one Juliet was offered? What is the best way to resolve income and childcare issues within a family? Is it possible for husbands and wives to allocate the workloads equally?
11. Discuss Grace’s attempts to lose weight. Why had she been so easily influenced by her badgering stepmother, Alice? Why does American society exalt thinness when creating definitions of beautiful women?
12. Grace has to put up with comments about the fact that she has many daughters, while Chloe and Anna are raising sons and Juliet regrets not spending much “girl time” with her twins. How does the gender factor affect the novel’s characters and their attitudes toward their children?
13. What was at the heart of Chloe’s kleptomania? Do you predict that she and James will achieve enough stability to relieve her insecurity?
14. What does Mommy Tracked prove about the nature of friendship? What is the best measure of a friendship? How does the dynamic between friends change when parenthood enters the picture?
15. In what way did Whitney Gaskell’s previous books pave the way for Mommy Tracked? What aspects of life as a woman does she celebrate in all her works?