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Momzillas Reader’s Guide

By Jill Kargman

Momzillas by Jill Kargman

READERS GUIDE

Introduction

Darkly comic clever, and wry, Momzillas navigates Manhattan’s Upper East Side scene of highly educated and extremely wealthy women who throw themselves and all of their resources into being full-time moms–to hilarious and frightening effect.

Hannah Allen has recently moved to the neighborhood with her New York City-bred investment banker husband and two-year-old daughter, Violet. She’s immediately inundated by an outpouring of advice from her not-so-well-intentioned new friends and her overbearing, socially conscious mother-in-law, who coach her on matters ranging from where to buy the must-have $300 baby dress to how to get into the only pre-pre-preschool that counts. Despite her better instincts and common sense, Hannah soon finds herself caught up in the competitive whirl of high-stakes mothering.

Questions and Topics for Discussion

1. Do you know any momzillas? Are they exclusive to the posher neighborhoods of New York City, or can they be found everywhere? What’s the difference between a mom and a momzilla? Talk about the momzillas you know. What’s the best way to handle them?

2. Do you think the characters in the book are based on real people? Or are they caricatures? What’s the most outrageous act of Momzillahood in the book?

3. Despite her better instincts and common sense, Hannah soon finds herself swept up in the competitive craziness of high-stakes motherhood. Why is it so easy for mothers to fall pray to fears that they’re not doing enough for their kids (are they in the right schools, are they in the right extracurricular activities, etc.)?

4. Are you a mother? How many momzilla-like traps have you fallen into? For example, what’s the most you’ve ever spent on an outfit for your toddler? What do you think of people who buy designer baby outfits and $1000 strollers? Why do you think they do this?

5. In the rarified world of Manhattan’s Upper East Side, what are the criteria for determining whether a woman is a “good mother”? What purpose does their competitive attitude serve? What does Hannah seem to think about the culture of American mommyhood?

6. In what way are parenting styles reflections of an adult’s overall outlook on life, as much as his or her concern for a child?

7. Discuss Hannah’s relationship with Lila, her mother-in-law. Why is this relationship–both in the novel and in real life–so fraught with tension? Is your own relationship with your in-laws a difficult one? If you had been in Hannah’s shoes, how would you have responded to Lila?

About this Author

Jill Kargman is the coauthor (along with Carrie Karasyov) of The Right Address and Wolves in Chic Clothing. She lives on Manhattan’s Upper East Side with her husband and three children.
 
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