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As the weather gets warmer, Jenna Bush Hager has the perfect book to take outside and read in the sun. For April 2021, the TODAY with Hoda & Jenna co-host has selected "Good Company," by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney, as her Read With Jenna book club pick.
"'Good Company,' by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney, is filled with charm, humor and grace," Jenna said. "I was captivated by the way the author writes intimately about human connection, including the ties between mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, and friends."
The story covers themes of family, forgiveness, loyalty and betrayal, as Flora Mancini and everyone closest to her deal with the fallout after she discovers her husband's wedding ring, which he claimed to have lost in a pond years prior, inside an envelope in the garage.
After you read, discuss the book with friends and family using these questions to spark conversation.
- Each character in this novel has a different relationship to their career, in terms of how much they choose to prioritize it over the years and how much success they find. Which character do you think has the most rewarding relationship to their work?
- Flora and Margot’s relationship was born out of a time when they both shared similar dreams, but their paths diverged significantly as they grew older. What qualities do you think a friendship needs to have to evolve over many decades in this way? How do you think Flora and Margot managed to stay connected rather than drifting apart?
- Flora and Julian have a marriage that seems, initially, to be rock solid. How much do you think Julian’s infidelity changes that? Does it negate the otherwise positive qualities that their relationship shared, or do you think their marriage is still strong in its own way?
- Do you think Margot made the right decision to keep Julian’s secret? Do you think she truly had Flora’s best interests in mind, or was she driven by selfish impulses? What would you have done in her shoes?
- Ruby has only a partial understanding of what is going on with her parents, and yet she is able to bring the family toward a moment of possible reconciliation at the end. How do you think she sees her parents’ relationship? Do you think Flora and Julian owe Ruby an explanation of what’s happened in their marriage or should the ups and downs of a relationship remain a private matter? Are children better off knowing the whole truth of their parents’ relationship?
- What do you make of the fact that many of these characters are actors? Do you think their work performing as other people impacts their own character in any way? Are they perhaps more empathetic to others — or more deceitful? When one’s artistic practice is also one’s career, what are the upsides? The downsides?
- What perspective do you think David brings to the friend group? How do you think he must feel as the only person who is not an artist and the only one facing significant medical struggles? What do you make of his and Margot’s shared connection to the medical field — him as a practicing physician, her as an acting star playing a beloved TV doctor?
- Flora and Julian have often struggled to make ends meet, while Margot and David are wealthy. How do you think money affects the relationships between these two couples? Do you think their level of financial success is tied to happiness, or not?
- What do you make of Julian’s decision to keep his old wedding ring, even though it put him at risk to have Flora discover his secret? Does this reflect anything about his views on their marriage?
- This book is split between New York City and Los Angeles. How do you think these characters’ lives change when they move from the East Coast to the West Coast? Do you think Flora and Julian’s move to L.A. demonstrates a shift in priorities? Have they given up on old dreams?
- What do you think Flora will choose to do going forward? What would you do if you were in her shoes?
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For more book recommendations, check out:
- Jenna Bush Hager selects book club pick with 'humor and grace' for April 2021
- 5 books to read if you enjoyed 'What's Mine and Yours,' by Naima Coster
- 5 books to read if you enjoyed 'The Four Winds' by Kristin Hannah