I turned fifty while writing Her Sister’s Shoes. With my youngest headed off to college, I experienced a mini mid-life crisis in 2014. Both Jackie’s and Sam’s characters were outlets for what I was feeling at the time.
1) For those of you facing fifty or who have already reached the mid-century mark, did you relate to Jackie’s identity crisis? If so, how?
2) Women often leave something of themselves on the table when they get married and start a family. While Jackie continued to work as an interior designer, she gave up an opportunity to make it big in New York. What personal sacrifices did you make for your family?
3) Sam experiences mixed emotions about her only child leaving for college. If you are an empty nester, did you find it difficult to transition into a life that doesn’t center around your children? What are some of the things you do together as a couple that you couldn’t do before?
4) What types of things did you find that interest you, as an individual, when you became an empty nester?
5) If you have a child going off to college soon, are you looking forward to spending time alone with your husband or are you dreading it?
6) Take a moment to talk about Lovie’s odd behavior. Do you think she is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease or is her forgetfulness normal for a woman her age? Have any of your loved ones ever experienced similar behavior? Do you think the Sweeney sisters do a good job of sharing the concern for their mother’s issues?
7) The three Sweeney sisters are very different. Do you think the shoes used for the chapter headings match their personalities? Which sister did you relate to the most and why?
8) Curtis forces Faith to steal money from her family’s business. What would you have done in the same situation?
9) Faith stays in an abusive relationship out of desperation. Did you relate to her feeling of hopelessness or did you feel frustrated with her for not getting help?
10) Empathy is one of the major themes of the novel. In a moment of anger, Jackie says to Sam, “Don’t you dare talk to me about shoes. Until you’ve walked a mile in mine.” Spend some time talking about empathy. Does today’s generation lack the ability to understand and share the feelings of others?
11) What will stay with you the most about Her Sister’s Shoes?