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You Were Always Mom's Favorite!: Sisters in Conversation Throughout Their Livesby Deborah Tannen
Reading Group Guide
Looking back at your childhood, could you have predicted that your relationships with your siblings would evolve as they have?
2. Have you tended to think of yourself and your sister(s) as different, similar, or a combination of both? In what ways?
3. Did the chapters on oldest and youngest sisters ring true to you? Did they change the way
you think about yourself or your siblings?
4. Did the title “You Were Always Mom’s Favorite!” ring a bell? Would “You Were Always Dad’s Favorite!” have been equally or more evocative? If you were to write a book about sisters, what would you call it?
5. If you have brothers as well as sisters, how do your conversations – and relationships — with them compare? If you have sisters or brothers who are gay or transgendered, how do your conversations and relationships with them compare?
6. Tannen writes, “There is no equal protection clause in the family constitution.” Were there changes in your family’s circumstances that resulted in different opportunities or burdens for different children in the family?
7. If you have half siblings or step siblings, how do your relationships with them compare to your relationships with full siblings, and with the book’s descriptions?
8. Families sometimes categorize siblings in opposing ways: the shy one and the outgoing one, the bookworm and the athlete, or, most unfortunately, the smart one and the pretty one (as if a woman can’t be both!) Why do you think this happens? Have you seen it in your own experience?
9. Many women feel that their sisters have caused them more pain than joy, or have disappointed them in significant ways. Have you experienced this or observed it in friends or relatives? Have you ever thought you’d be better off without a sister? Why?
10. In reading You Were Always Mom’s Favorite! did you sometimes feel that your experience was different because of cultural influences? In what ways?
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