Synopses & Reviews
"The author of My Daughter's Boyfriend re-sifts and comes up with an irresistible title based on a cool-headed premise. Anya Meadows suffers from FSAD Female Sexual Arousal Disorder ('a condition that affects 47 million women for a variety of reasons'). To keep her husband Neil ('a taller, thinner, less insane version of Mike Tyson') from leaving her and daughter Reese, she proposes a contract: find a girlfriend, sort of: oral sex only, encounters no more than twice a week, no falling in love. The book opens, alas, with Anya sitting at home, awaiting word on the birth of Neil's new son, Braxton, with Neil's contract-girlfriend (and co-worker) Danielle. Rax shifts the book's first person among the three principles fluidly: Anya loves her stay-at-home-mom lifestyle, dependent on Neil's job as a capital projects manager at a local Houston college. Trying-to-do-the-right-thing Neil loves Anya, but also cares for the few-class-tiers-lower Dani, who is (in her own words) 'spirited, decent-looking, employed, fun-loving, supportive.' But among other drama, Neil's boss finds it unacceptable that a married, 'high-profile' member of the department is 'openly having babies with someone else.' Rax manages the fallout from her exaggerated plot with insight, zip and wit, and airs multiple conflicts within black middle-class life in compelling detail." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
Cydney Rax is the creator and manager of Book-Remarks.com, a heavily trafficked website that promotes books by and about African-Americans. She lives in Houston, Texas.
Reading Group Guide
1. Is Tracey someone you could see yourself being friends with? What are her redeeming qualities? Her negative ones?
2. Until Aaron came along, Tracey was doing a good job raising Lauren. Why was she willing to risk her relationship with her daughter? Can you understand how she thought things might work out okay for everyone?
3. There are several mother-daughter relationships in the book: Tracey and Lauren, Tracey and her own mother, Indira and Regis. Which strikes you as the healthiest? Which is most like your relationship with your mother? Your daughter?
4. Who is the most likeable character in the novel? The least?
5. In her relationships with men, Tracey seems to expect to be treated a certain way. Are these expectations realistic? How might they be contributing to her romantic frustrations?
6. Compare Traceys relationship with Aaron to Laurens relationship with him. How are they alike? How are they different? What does Aaron get from each woman that he cant get from the other?
7. Discuss Aarons role in the affair. Is he the instigator? Once he starts seeing Tracey, is his behavior toward Lauren honorable, or are there things he should have done differently?
8. And what is Laurens role? Is the lesson here that she should have slept with Aaron? Why, or why not? At times she seems willfully naive about her mother and her boyfriend-is she intentionally ignoring signals, or is the truth simply too difficult to imagine?
9. Tracey tells Indira about the affair on page 150. Imagine you were Indira: How would you have reacted to such a confession from a close friend? Should Indira have done something more about it?
10. There are times when it appears Tracey wants to get caught-inviting Aaron over after Lauren goes to bed, for example. Why would she do this?
11. On page 215 Tracey raises the idea of karma-that they might be punished for their affair in some other area of their lives. Is Aarons fathers illness an example of this? How does Traceys karma manifest itself? Does karma figure into your own life?
12. Discuss the role of the church in the story. What does each characters churchgoing habits say about them? How might each have behaved differently if religion was more, or less, important to them?
13. During the flood, on page 265, Tracey has an epiphany about her failings as a mother. What is the result of this awakening? Is her rescue a result, in some karmic way?
14. Throughout the book, characters tell Tracey that she worries too much about what other people think. Is this true? Are there times when she doesnt worry enough?
15. Discuss Traceys relationship with Derrick. What does Tracey want from Derrick, and vice versa? On page 289 Tracey says Derrick is a female version of herself-how is this an accurate assessment, and how is it wrong?
16. A saying Tracey sees at church has quite an effect on her: Thinking beyond where you are will bring you out from where you are. What does this mean, and how does Tracey implement it? Are there similar mottos that help you in your own life?
17. Assess Tracey and Laurens relationship at the beginning of the novel versus at the end. How is it better? Worse? Are there results you expected that didnt come to pass?
18. What do you imagine would happen if Tracey had allowed Aaron to come home with her on the last page?