Synopses & Reviews
A hilarious and deliciously scathing send-up of motherhood as practiced in the upper echelons of Manhattan society, from the coauthor of The Right Address
and Wolves in Chic Clothing.
The mothers on Manhattans chic Upper East Side are highly educated, extremely wealthy, and very competitive. They throw themselves and all of their energy and resources into full-time child rearing, turning their kids into the unwitting pawns in a game where success is measured in precocious achievements, jam-packed schedules, and elite private-school pedigrees.
Hannah Allen has recently moved to the neighborhood with her New York City-bred investment banker husband and their two-year-old daughter, Violet. Shes immediately inundated by an outpouring of advice from her not-so-well-intentioned new friends and her overbearing, socially conscious mother-in-law, who coach her on matters ranging from where to buy the must-have $300 baby dress to how to get into the only pre-pre-preschool that counts. Despite her better instincts and common sense, Hannah soon finds herself caught up in the competitive whirl of high-stakes mothering.
About the Author
Jill Kargman, who grew up on the Upper East Side and now lives there with her husband and two daughters, is the ideal chronicler of the lives of New Yorks ultra-rich and ultra-ambitious. She captures the mores, the conversations, and the backstabbing with supreme ease, and creates in Hannah a wonderfully sympathetic heroine. A wickedly funny and spot-on portrait of some decidedly over-the-top moms, Momzillas is the perfect follow-up to The Right Address.
Reading Group Guide
1. Do you know any momzillas? Are they exclusive to the posher neighborhoods of New York City, or can they be found everywhere? Whats the difference between a mom and a momzilla? Talk about the momzillas you know. Whats the best way to handle them?
2. Do you think the characters in the book are based on real people? Or are they caricatures? Whats the most outrageous act of Momzillahood in the book?
3. Despite her better instincts and common sense, Hannah soon finds herself swept up in the competitive craziness of high-stakes motherhood. Why is it so easy for mothers to fall pray to fears that theyre not doing enough for their kids (are they in the right schools, are they in the right extracurricular activities, etc.)?
4. Are you a mother? How many momzilla-like traps have you fallen into? For example, whats the most youve ever spent on an outfit for your toddler? What do you think of people who buy designer baby outfits and $1000 strollers? Why do you think they do this?
5. In the rarified world of Manhattans Upper East Side, what are the criteria for determining whether a woman is a “good mother”? What purpose does their competitive attitude serve? What does Hannah seem to think about the culture of American mommyhood?
6. In what way are parenting styles reflections of an adults overall outlook on life, as much as his or her concern for a child?
7. Discuss Hannahs relationship with Lila, her mother-in-law. Why is this relationship-both in the novel and in real life-so fraught with tension? Is your own relationship with your in-laws a difficult one? If you had been in Hannahs shoes, how would you have responded to Lila?