Synopses & Reviews
Connie Nixon is no stranger to making lists. In fact, she has rewritten the list of her deepest desires no fewer than forty-eight times. And each Sunday, for as long as she can remember, she's tinkered with it. But actually doing something about her desires is a different story until the night she comes across a box belonging to her estranged daughter...and makes a stunning discovery. It turns out that her seemingly straitlaced Jessica is part owner of one of the most successful sex toy shops in America.
Shocked by her daughter's secret life, Connie tucks her list in her back pocket and does something utterly impulsive: she hops on a plane to New York City to track down Jessica and winds up on the wildest adventure of her life. Because with her daughter's help, Connie's about to let her own inner bombshell see the light of day.
Now, for the first time ever, things are flying off Connie's list. Like reconnecting with her daughter. And getting tipsy before noon. And the most startlingly extraordinary desire of all: falling in love.
"With her retirement looming, nurse Connie Nixon is preparing a 'list of dreams' to accomplish once she's out of the working week. Revised 48 times by her retirement date, Connie's structured quest to let loose provides the opportunity for Radish (Annie Freeman's Fabulous Traveling Funeral) to spin an inspirational story about making amends and the power of mother-daughter love. Connie's list contains run-of-the mill things like 'stop setting the alarm clock' and 'write more thank-you notes' and mildly daring to-do's like buying a convertible and drinking wine before noon. It is, however, the confluence of two list items, 'maybe sex' and 'recapture Jessica,' that pushes Connie to rejuvenate her relationship with youngest daughter Jessica, who moved from hometown Indiana to New York three years ago and has since become the 'CEO and part owner of... one of the most successful sex-toy stores in the United States of America.' Connie travels to the Big Apple, and the two women reconnect in an unexpected way: Jessica puts Connie to work in the sex toy business. Every page contains a warm fuzzy." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Radish provides her readers with what they expect and will relish a paean extolling the virtues of sisterhood that encompasses mothers and daughters and a rallying cry encouraging women to seek sexual fulfillment at any age." Booklist
Now that she is happily divorced and recently retired, Connie Nixon is ready to get on with her life and begin living her own dreams, starting with her determination to get rid of all of the junk in the garage, but when she opens a box belonging to her daughter, her unexpected discovery transforms her life and that of her daughter. By the author of Annie Freeman's Fabulous Traveling Funeral. Original. 95,000 first printing.
The beloved Book Sense bestselling author tells the story of a mother, a daughter, and the unforgettably funny, unabashedly sexy, and unexpectedly inspiring journey that will strengthen their bond forever.
About the Author
Kris Radish is the author of six books. Her Bantam Dell novels The Elegant Gathering of White Snows
, Dancing Naked at the Edge of Dawn
and Annie Freeman's Fabulous Traveling Funeral
have been on the bestseller and Book Sense 76 Selection lists. She also writes two weekly nationally syndicated columns.
She travels frequently throughout the country speaking about women's issues, the value of female friendships and the importance of personal empowerment, as well as the necessity for laughter, a terrific glass of wine, lying quietly in the summer grass, embracing kindness, following the path in your own heart and no one's else's, and having fun at all costs.
Kris Lives in Wisconsin with her partner, a teenage daughter who she sees when the gas tank is empty, a college son who shows up when it's time to wash clothes and where she is cursing through menopause on her Yamaha orange-lanced walking shoes, a chlorine blocking swim suit, a gallon of calcium, about 100 notebooks for her novels, short story, poetry, and journalism ideas and a case of cheap wine glasses.
She is also working on her fifth novel which Bantam Dell will publish in 2008.
Reading Group Guide
Kris Radish has captivated readers coast-to-coast with novels featuring ordinary women who dare to make their most extraordinary dreams come true. In The Sunday List of Dreams
, she takes us on an enticing adventure with Connie Nixon, a fiftysomething firecracker who discovers its never too late to start living passionately.
For as long as Connie can remember, she has made time each Sunday to rewrite a list of her goals and wishes. She could never have predicted the sparks that would fly when she finally decided to tackle one of the less glamorous items on the list-getting rid of the junk piled up in her garage. After all the years she spent raising three daughters and struggling with a painful marriage, the boxes represent a history she can barely stand to face. But buried in this rubble is a revelation that will reunite Connie with Jessica, her estranged daughter who moved to New York City. It turns out that Jessica is a highly successful businesswoman-in the sex-toy industry. When Connie visits her daughters secret world unannounced, both women begin to confront a myriad of truths about themselves and their memories of the past. The result is an exhilarating adventure, by turns hilarious and inspiring, that helps Connie create a whole new list of dreams-while finally giving herself permission to make them all come true.
The questions, discussion topics, and author biography that follow are intended to enhance your reading of The Sunday List of Dreams. We hope they will enrich your experience of this vibrant novel.
1. How does Connies list of dreams change throughout the novel? What does her list say about her sense of self?
2. Chapter four describes Connies sustaining friendship with Frannie OBrien, who is described as both co-pilot and navigator. How does Frannie help move Connie, and the novel, forward? Who is the OBrien in your life?
3. How does Connie feel about her house (even when its talking to her) and the artifacts from her children and husband? What new concept of home does she dream of?
4. Why did Jessica relate to her mother differently than Sabrina and Macy did? What puts the distance or closeness in their relationships? Put yourself in Connies or Jessicas shoes upon the discovery of “Divas.” What would you do?
5. Why had Connie disapproved of her other daughters? What did it take to bring reconciliation among all four Nixon women?
6. Jessica has to travel to Louisiana because of production issues. Talk about what sexuality means in your community: Are there differences in the way men and women perceive this?
7. How does Connie reconcile the idea of Jessica as her baby, and the reality that Jessica is a grown woman? How do mothers and daughters shift in the way they relate to each other throughout life? How does it happen in the novel?
8. How do the novels three primary settings-Cypress, Indiana; New York City; and New Orleans-compare to each other? How does each one capture a different side of Connies personality, especially considering that two of the cities have recently survived tragedy
9. On the plane bound for New York, Connie bonds with Mattie the hairdresser in a process Kris Radish calls “female communion.” When has female communion brought miracles into your life? How does this shape the novel?
10. What role did Romney, Kinsey, and Meredith play in fostering Jessicas career? What did Romney show Jessica about being a good lover? At what point did Jessicas career overtake her ability to find pleasure in life?
11. What do Connie and Jessica learn about themselves, and about each other, from Saffine in Louisiana? What makes her so good at stirring honesty in them?
12. What is the significance of Connies life as a nurse? What does it say about her capabilities? Did it prepare her at all for a life in retail? How did she go about deciding where to dedicate her life after retirement?
13. Michael taps a well of passion in Connie, and Martin does the same for Jessica. What enabled both women to let go of their fears? What were the origins of these fears? What is the antidote to Connies panic attack in chapter twenty-three?
14. Chapter fourteen ends with Connies advice to her patients that “the center is a very fine place to be, because from there you can see both sides and select the best way home.” Respond to this.
15. In an interview, Kris Radish has said that her stories are a way for her to “honor the relationships women have with each other, their friendships, and the great love that women share with each other.” Do you think she has achieved this goal with The Sunday List of Dreams?
16. What threads link The Sunday List of Dreams to Kris Radishs previous novels? What would Radishs previous heroines think of Divas?