Book club questions: City of Friends
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Joanna Trollope's twentieth novel City of Friends
is the story of four women whose long cherished friendship is threatened when a secret betrayal resurfaces.
1. What did you think of the depiction of female friendship in City of Friends? Did you find it authentic? Did you think they were good friends to one another?
2. Stacey feels a ‘violent sense of injustice’ over her firing. Were you shocked by the circumstances of her dismissal? Do you think the same thing would have happened if she were a man?
3. ‘She loved her children, loved Quin, loved her friends, but she adored her work.’ What did you think about Gaby’s attitude to work, family and domestic life?
4. What do you think about Melissa’s situation as a working single mother? Granted, she is not short of money, but what about the inevitable emotional pressure on her son?
5. Beth finishes her argument with Claire: ‘what you did was one thing, but the reason you did it was quite another.’ Did you think Beth was right to be so upset over Claire’s actions?
6. Gaby contends in an interview that ‘working women should be as commonplace and unremarkable as working men’. Do you think City of Friends agrees with Gaby’s statement? Do you think the book represents this as already being the case, or an attitude that still needs shifting?
7. Steve pressures Stacey to move her mum into a care home. Did you think this was fair? Who did you sympathise with most in the situation?
8. ‘He’s very angry at the moment, and it’s easier to tell me it’s all my fault’. Gaby doesn’t see Quin’s outburst coming. Did you? Do you think she could have done anything differently to curtail his resentments? Do you think she should have done anything differently?
9. ‘Work and life aren’t in opposition to each other, they enrich each other’, Gaby proclaims in a seminar. What do you think City of Friends
says about working women and work/life balance?
10. Do you think men and women work differently, and how does this affect how they are perceived and how they perceive themselves?
11. Are attitudes to the juggling of work and family life generational, cultural or economic?
12. What does feminism mean today?
City of Friends
Stacey, Beth, Melissa and Gaby had been best friends from the early days of university right through their working lives. But when Stacey's redundancy forces a betrayal to emerge that was supposed to remain secret, their long cherished friendships are pushed to their limits.
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