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11 questions to consider after reading 'The Family' by Naomi Krupitsky

Plus details on a virtual event with the author and Jenna Bush Hager.
Read with Jenna Discussion with author Naomi Krupitsky
TODAY Illustration / Sam Galison / Courtesy Penguin Random House / Nathan Congleton

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The November 2021 Read With Jenna pick is "The Family" by Naomi Krupitsky.

The novel is about two best friends Sofia Colicchio and Antonia Russo. As neighbors in Brooklyn, New York, both of the girls' fathers are members of the Italian mafia. Their yin-and-yang friendship seems like it will last a lifetime as they grow into young women with families of their own. But it all comes to a breaking point one night when their loyalty to the Family and to each other faces the ultimate test.

As readers across the country enjoy Naomi Krupitsky's debut novel, Jenna Bush Hager is gearing up for a special virtual event with the author at Barnes & Noble on Tuesday, November 16 at 4 p.m. EST. You can register to attend this free event here.

Take a look at the discussion questions below before Jenna and Krupitsky share a conversation of their own about the book.

  1. Sofia and Antonia’s friendship began because of a unique circumstance they were born into, but it undergoes a transformation as they grow into adults. Were there aspects of Sofia and Antonia’s friendship that reminded you of your own with a friend? If so, what were they, and why?
  2. What do you see as Sofia’s defining characteristics? Antonia’s? How do you think those characteristics led Sofia and Antonia to live their particular lives?
  3. Considering the characteristics you named in response to the previous question, do you feel you are more like Sofia or Antonia? How do you think these traits have led you to where you are today?
  4. Compare and contrast a popular mafia story, such as "The Godfather," with "The Family." How do you feel the mafia is depicted in each? In what ways does "The Family" subvert popular fiction about the mafia, if at all?
  5. Discuss how World War II and the aftermath of this event affected both Sofia’s and Antonia’s lives. If this catastrophic war hadn’t happened, how do you think their lives would have been the same or different throughout the novel?
  6. What was your favorite scene in the novel, and why?
  7. Sunday dinners were a way of bringing the Family together both for business and pleasure. Does your family connect over a shared ritual or activity, and if so, what is it?
  8. Family means everything to the Colicchios and the Russos. What unspoken rules guide your own communities?
  9. What did you think about Saul’s decisions toward the end of the novel regarding his family and the mafia? Do you think he should have handled things differently?
  10. Although they didn’t set out to do so, Antonia and Sofia have their own feminist moments in a time when that wasn’t a well-defined movement. What do you think each woman’s defining moment was in "The Family"?
  11. Were you surprised by the ending?

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