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Certain Girls

Certain Girls

A Novel

  • reading group guide
  • bestseller
Readers fell in love with Cannie Shapiro, the smart, sharp-tongued, bighearted heroine of Good in Bed who found her happy ending after her mother came out of the closet, her father fell out of her life, and her ex-boyfriend started chronicling their ex-sex life in the pages of a national magazine.

Now Cannie's back. After her debut novel -- a fictionalized (and highly sexualized) version of her life -- became an overnight bestseller, she dropped out of the public eye and turned to writing science fiction under a pseudonym. She's happily married to the tall, charming diet doctor Peter Krushelevansky and has settled into a life that she finds wonderfully predictable -- knitting in the front row of her daughter Joy's drama rehearsals, volunteering at the library, and taking over-forty yoga classes with her best friend Samantha.

As preparations for Joy's bat mitzvah begin, everything seems right in Cannie's world. Then Joy discovers the novel Cannie wrote years before and suddenly finds herself faced with what she thinks is the truth about her own conception -- the story her mother hid from her all her life. When Peter surprises his wife by saying he wants to have a baby, the family is forced to reconsider its history, its future, and what it means to be truly happy.

Radiantly funny and disarmingly tender, with Weiner's whip-smart dialogue and sharp observations of modern life, Certain Girls is an unforgettable story about love, loss, and the enduring bonds of family.
  • Washington Square Press | 
  • 416 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780743294263 | 
  • April 2009
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Meet Novelist Jennifer Weiner

From the NY Times bestselling author, the long-awaited sequel to Good in Bed, picks up with Cannie raising her lovely but rebellious teenage daughter.

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Certain Girls
ONE

When I was a kid, our small-town paper published wedding announcements, with descriptions of the ceremonies and dresses and pictures of the brides. Two of the disc jockeys at one of the local radio stations would spend Monday morning picking through the photographs and nominating the Bow-Wow Bride, the woman they deemed the ugliest of all the ladies who’d taken their vows in the Philadelphia region over the weekend. The grand prize was a case of Alpo.

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Reading Group Guide

Questions and Topics for Discussion
1. In the opening of the novel, Cannie thankfully observes how her daughter, Joy, is so different from herself. Joy, Cannie thinks, will have a better adolescence than her mother did. And yet it is their differences that cause such conflict and grief in the Krushelevansky household. In what ways are Cannie and Joy different? In what ways are they similar? How much of these differences are specific to Cannie and Joy and how much are common to all mother-daughter pairs?
2. Cannie loves her daughter so deeply and so enjoys being a mother that it is somewhat surprising to see how negatively she reacts to Peter's request that they have a child together. Why do you think she reacts this way?
3. On page 68, Joy seems enraged by Cannie's repetition of a familiar story about Joy's childhood. But Cannie can't figure out what has upset her daughter so. Identify moments in the novel where Joy is upset with something Cannie says or does, and Cannie doesn't understand why. Do you think Joy is being unfair, or is it Cannie who is overreacting?
4. Cannie tries to steer Joy away from the fashion magazines her aunt Elle devours because she thinks they're a "bad influence." What does Joy think? Do you agree or disagree with Cannie, and why? How does the novel provide evidence to support one opinion over the other?
5. Joy is constantly smoothing her hair over her ears to hide her hearing aids, or taking them out altogether. Wha see more

About the Author

Jennifer Weiner
Photograph by Andrea Cipriani Mecchi

Jennifer Weiner

Jennifer Weiner is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of eleven books, which have spent a combined five years on the bestseller list, with over 15 million copies in print in thirty-six countries. Her iconic debut Good in Bed is now in its fifty-ninth printing. In Her Shoes was turned into a major motion picture starring Cameron Diaz, Toni Collette, and Shirley MacLaine. Her newest novel, All Fall Down, has become one of the best-reviewed novels of the year, hailed as “compulsively readable” by The New York Times Book Review. A graduate of Princeton University, she lives with her family in Philadelphia. Visit her online at JenniferWeiner.com.

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