Best Friends, Occasional Enemies: Questions for Book Clubs

  1. Lisa and Francesca are truly best friends, but admittedly, they have some occasional enemies moments. Many parents today want to be best friends with their children, but are too afraid to face the occasional enemies part. Where do you draw the line between friendship and good parenting? How do you think the parent/child dynamics have changed from your own childhood to today? What impact do you think this shift will have on the younger generation in the future?
  2. As Lisa navigates the dating world as a 50-something, she learns a lot about herself, and isn’t willing to settle. More and more women are finding themselves alone, and are making full, happy lives for themselves. Why do you think so many women are afraid to be alone? Do you think you could be happy alone? Why or why not? If you are alone, or found yourself alone, what kind of things would you fill your life with in order to feel complete and happy? Whether you are currently married or not, would you consider marriage again? Why or why not?
  3. In Best Friends, Occasional Enemies, Lisa and Francesca each write about the loss of their family animals. Their furry friends are an important part of their family, and have meant different things to them through the years. Do you think it is important for children to grow up with pets? Why or why not? What role do pets play in the family, and what can we learn from them? Do you think animals experience their own grief at the loss of a family member, human or furry?
  4. Lisa writes about buying presents for Francesca online, and when they arrived, they were not exactly what Lisa expected. Are you an online shopper, and if so, how often do you use the internet to make purchases. If not, what is holding you back? Do you think there is an impersonal element to buying presents online? What items would you never consider buying over the internet? Have you had any bad experiences purchasing online items, and do you think you are more or less likely to return something purchased online rather than in a traditional store?
  5. Motherhood has no expiration date, so even though Francesca has moved out, Lisa never stops worrying about her. As part of the Sandwich Generation, Lisa finds herself worrying and caring for Mother Mary as well. What responsibility do you think children have in the caring of their parents? What are the challenges of caring for elderly parents, and how do you juggle between allowing them to make their own decisions as adults, and giving them the best possible care? Do you think that caring for an elderly parent helps ease the emotional blow of having an empty nest, or does it just delay the inevitable?
  6. As Francesca points out, love is a gamble. What have you done in the name of love, that you otherwise would never have done? Do you believe in love at first sight? Why or why not? Should parents let their children make their own mistakes in love, and stay out of it? When or how should a parent step in? Have you regretted any relationships you have ever had, or do you see them all as learning experiences? Is ex-sex ever a good idea? Why or why not? What do you do to ease the pain of a break-up? Do you have a go-to comfort food? A special friend to talk to? Do you think you should take time or is a new relationship the best way to heal from a broken one?
  7. When Lisa loves, she is all in! So when Lisa watches her favorite sports team, even from her couch, she decks herself out in all her fanwear. What significance, beyond supporting your favorite team , does donning fanwear have for people? Do you think it is a way to stand out, or fit in? In what ways are professional sports teams good for a community, and why do you think they bring out such passion in people?
  8. Lisa and Francesca have a practical tug-of-war over a particular green jacket. How would you feel about owning the same pieces of clothing as your mother? Would you ever wear them at the same time? Do you think mothers and daughters dressing the same is ever cute? How has the way your mother dressed influenced your own wardrobe choices? What does how we dress say about us?
  9. Francesca writes about her bank angst, and in speaking with other women, she realizes she is not alone. Why do you think so many smart, educated women are intimidated by banking, the stock market, or other financially related tasks? What do you think about women maintaining their own separate bank account, even when they are married? Would you rather be in control of the money and the paying of the bills, or would you rather leave it to someone else?
  10. Lisa loved her car so much, she couldn’t give it up. Her assistant cried when she sold her car, too? Why do you think people become so attached to their cars? Why do women and men both measure men on the type of car they drive? What do you think about the fact that Lisa went on a date and because she drove a nicer car than her date, he would not ask her out again? What can you tell about a person by the kind of car they drive?