Everybody Has Everything has proven a book club favourite (discussions can get heated, but no fisticuffs yet). If I’m free, I’m happy to come to your book club in the flesh, or via Skype. Wine not required, but suggested.
Questions for further discussion:
- How do you understand the meaning of the novel’s title?
- In what ways is this novel informed by its setting in a major city? What might the author be expressing about modern urban life?
- Ana asks Sarah how she knew she wanted a child. Whose side of the ensuing exchange made the most sense to you? Why could Ana not be honest with Sarah about when, or if, she herself “knew”?
- How does James’s behavior upend (or conform to) conventional notions of masculinity, at work, at home, and with Finn? In what ways does Ana challenge the concept of femininity? How do these shifting gender roles affect the story?
- At certain points, both Ana and James find themselves acutely aware of their age. What triggers this awareness in each of them? What does this awareness mean to each of them?
- Neither Ana’s nor James’s mother quite fits the picture of a conventional mother. Can you see people you know in either of them? In what ways?
- Is it still a social taboo for a woman to resist motherhood? How does Ana experience society’s attitudes toward women who aren’t mothers? Is it possible for a female character to be sympathetic if she rejects motherhood?
- How does Finn’s sudden presence in James and Ana’s relationship foment marital discord– or does it? To what extent is their marriage affected by parenthood?
- What do you make of Ana’s relationship with Charlie? What draws her to him?
- The final scene of the novel involves James telling Finn (and Ana) a story. How does this closing story-within-a-story relate to the novel as a whole?
- What do you think the next chapter in life will be for Ana, for James, for Finn, for Sarah?