Synopses & Reviews
Ellen Franck isn't in love with Big Bird. After all, he's a big yellow Sesame Street character -- and she's an intelligent single woman with a fabulous job. On the other hand, Big Bird is looking like a better candidate for fatherhood every day: he's tall, affectionate, and steadily employed. And right now, for Ellen, thirty-five years old and dying to have a baby, almost any father will do.
In her hilarious and heartbreaking new novel, Laura Zigman, bestselling author of Animal Husbandry, explores what happens when the life we've chosen isn't that life we expected it to be. And at this point Ellen Franck is rethinking all her choices.
Mired in a relationship with a man who is better at brooding than breeding, sister to a woman who can't seem to stop having babies, and working under a boss who is about to have the baby shower of the decade, Ellen knows the path to motherhood is clear. All she has to do is leave her relationship, horrify her family, find an anonymous father, and become independently wealthy.
Piece of cake.
About the Author
Laura Zigman grew up in Newtonville, Massachusetts, and spent ten years working in the book publishing industry in New York. Her pieces have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and USA Today. She lives in Washington, D.C.
Reading Group Guide
The discussion topics inside are intended to enhance your reading of Laura Zigman's Dating Big Bird.
1. Why does Ellen take so long to come to a decision about single motherhood? What are her biggest concerns?
2. What are the most important reasons that Ellen and Amy want to have children? How much of it has to do with what they want, as opposed to what society tells them they should be?
3. Will Ellen's decision to raise a baby on her own make her a more committed mother because she is overcoming additional obstacles?
4. What does Malcolm's pain and loss after his son's death tell us about the emotional price of parenthood?
5. Why does Ellen put up with Malcolm's inability to be intimate with her for so long? What is she getting out of the relationship instead?
6. How do Ellen and Amy's views of parenthood compare to your own? Do you relate to them or not?
7. Ellen makes assumptions about Karen's ability to be a good mother, based on Karen's personality and work routine. What does this say about Ellen's perceptions of motherhood?
8. Should Ellen find other things to fulfill her while she's trying to decide about becoming a mother -- or does her research fill some of that void?
9. How do you think Amy's solution will turn out? What, in the long run, would make her happier -- a baby within an ambiguous marriage, or a baby by herself?
10. What is it about Ellen's relationship with "The Pickle" (her niece Nicole) that is so satisfying? Is it because she isn't a mother herself that she feels so much for The Pickle -- or not?
11. How do Ellen's reflections on motherhood affect her relationship with her own parents?
12. What is your opinion of "Mammo"? Does it apply to you? People you know? Do you wish it did? Would you wear it as a necklace?