Hold My Girl
Book Club Questions Discussion Guide
Some are serious, some are lighter; pick and choose the ones you feel best suit your group! And if you’re interested in having Charlene drop by for a virtual (or possibly in-person) visit to your book club, head over to INVITD to book her, or send her a message at email@example.com and she’ll do her best to arrange a visit.
** SPOILER ALERT **
Do not read through these questions until AFTER you’ve read the book!
1. Although the switch at the clinic would have greatly affected Patrick—just as the years of infertility did—we see very little consideration throughout the novel of how he’s handling everything. Do you feel Katherine was selfish in carrying this as her burden and tragedy rather than truly seeing it as Patrick’s too?
2. Patrick’s infidelity was a huge shock to Katherine; that Tess was the person he was unfaithful with, an even greater one. What role, if any, do you feel Katherine played in Patrick’s betrayal? Is there room for forgiveness and moving on together, or was the betrayal too deep? The book’s ending doesn’t indicate whether Katherine and Patrick will try to “make it work.” Do you think they should? Why or why not?
3. As a result of the story’s setting (and Katherine’s socio-economic status), the fact that Katherine is a Black woman who gave birth to a white child who is not biologically hers played a fairly minor role in the novel. This would not have been the case in many other parts of the world. How do you feel the same story would have played out where you live, and why?
4. Tess has had incredible pain and trauma in her life, which has led to poor decisions and a reliance on alcohol to dull her pain. Do you feel confident she’s had the breakthrough she needs to become the type of mother who can keep Rose loved and safe, or do you hope that (in the imagined future) Katherine is extremely cautious about the boundaries she places around allowing Tess into Rose’s life?
5. Both Tess and Katherine experienced feelings of brokenness during their years of infertility and felt like they were disappointing not only themselves, but also the people in their lives. How common do you think it is for women to feel like this, and what can (or should) society do to support women through this very unique pain? What do you think—for the most part—society gets wrong in this area?
6. Tess hypothesizes that if she’d just been honest about being raped, so much of her life might have turned out differently. Despite the #MeToo movement, and the conversation about sexual assault transforming over the past few years, do you think that many women still keep silent about sexual harassment and assault? Why? And what do you believe needs to change for more women to speak up?
7. At its core, Hold My Girl is a novel about motherhood. What, to you, makes a mother? And what should determine whether a person is entitled to raise a child, be it their biological offspring or not?
8. Did you find yourself relating to either Katherine or Tess throughout the story? Did you hope one woman would “win” sole custody of Rose?
9. When you learned that Patrick’s infidelity was with Tess, what was your reaction? How did you think the story would play out after that reveal, and how did it colour the previous interactions among the three characters for you?
10. Hold My Girl has been optioned to be adapted for TV. Who would you like to see play Tess, Katherine, and Patrick? Why?
11. At the beginning of the novel, Tess seems to be a bit in awe of Katherine. How do you think that affects Tess’s initial decisions? At what point do you feel that shifts for Tess, and how does that affect the power dynamic between the women?
12. Katherine is presented as a hard-core perfectionist, but there is certainly a lot in her life that’s far from perfect. How do you feel the image she tries to portray to the world conflicts with reality, and how might her life have been easier if she hadn’t tried to portray the image she did?
13. Would you want to be friends with either Katherine or Tess? Why or why not?
14. The book ends with Katherine inviting Tess to spend some time with her and Rose, but she offers no promises about how much time or whether a visit will happen again. What do you think of this ending? Do you hope Katherine lets Tess have a regular role in Rose’s life—maybe even shared custody?
15. After you finished the book, what struck you the most about the story and how did you feel?
If you have any questions about the discussion guide or would like a chance at having Charlene visit your bookclub through a webcall, email contact[at]charlenecarr.com