Synopses & Reviews
What's a girl to do when, en route to a romantic getaway, her best beau announces they're through? If she's Deneen Wilkerson, she politely asks the chump to drop her at the airport, boards a plane to St. Louis, seeks out the mother she hasn't seen since disco was king, and begins her nervous breakdown.
David Haynes “strikes out from the Waiting to Exhale formula” (Newsday) in a “hilarious” (Publishers Weekly), “consistently on-target” novel (Kirkus Reviews) about faithless boyfriends, spoiled siblings, preteen beauty queens, and Whitney Houston wannabes.
Reading Group Guide
Q> When Calvin dumps her, Deneen considers knocking his narrow behind through the windshield, cussing him out, or saying "talk to me sugar." Why does she choose none of these options? Do you think that getting dumped by Calvin is the real source of her depression or is there more going on? Q> Deneen says that Reina is not the mother she remembers. Can she accept the mother that Reina is now? Why do you think her mother doesn't demand an explanation for her visit? Why does she let her daughter hide in the cellar? Deneen has avoided her family for years. Why does she go home now? How does Reina finally help her come upstairs and out into the world again? Q> Are Deneen's outrageous eating habits a sign of her depression or does she simply appreciate a good hors d'oeuvre? Do you think Deneen is happy being a big, buxom woman in a time when thin is in? Our heroine most surely does discover her sexuality in St. Louis. Why now? Q> What is Ciara's problem? Is this child a typical pre-teen or the kind of brat who would trip a fat girl to win a beauty contest? Does Ciara deserve to have her hair cut off in the middle of the night or is Deneen out of control? Is some of their conflict just plain old sibling rivalry? Is Deneen right about Ciara being bulimic? Q> Deneen describes herself as a successful advertising maven, so why do you think she takes the money from her mother's wallet? Is it possible that she's reliving a little of her rebellious youth? When Reina tells her that Ciara is stealing the money, Deneen doesn't admit the truth right away. Why do you think she finally does? Q> Deneen says that just when she's close to getting an answer to what life is all about, "it dissolves into a puddle of contradictions." She's against beauty pageants, yet in her business, she uses women to sell products. Do you think this is a contradiction? What about her relationship with Mark? How can she date him knowing his involvement in the American Dream Girls Franchise? Q> Besides the fact that the feminine hygiene ad campaign is hilarious, what is the significance of working on this particular product for Deneen? Why is she so against her boss's idea of using blonde women running on the beach in the ad? How does this ad campaign relate to her view of herself? Do you think Reina's reasons for allowing Ciara to be in the beauty pageant are understandable? Q> Besides giving her Tina Turner hair, how does Hawkins help her? Do you think it's believable that Deneen would become friends with Calvin when she finally returns to her own home? Do you think Deneen's sense of humor is a defense against being hurt or is she just a funny woman? Why can Deneen finally return to her life? Copyright (c) 1999. Published by Harcourt, Inc.