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Book Club Questions for Dirty Laundry by Disha Bose

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Book club discussion questions for Dirty Laundry by Disha Bose explore the complexities of motherhood, friendships, and the unraveling of secrets.

This dazzling debut novel delves into the lives of three women – Ciara Dunphy, Mishti Guha, and Lauren Doyle – as they navigate motherhood, friendship, and self-preservation in a small Irish village.

With Ciara portrayed as the perfect wife and mother on social media, readers can explore the themes of perception and reality in the age of social media. How do we present ourselves online versus our true selves? How does this impact our relationships and sense of self-worth?

Mishti, an immigrant from Calcutta, brings up questions about cultural differences, assimilation, and the pursuit of the “perfect” life. As she grapples with her arranged marriage and struggles to raise her daughter in a foreign country, she faces challenges of balancing cultural expectations with personal desires.

Similarly, Lauren, an earth mother who is often ridiculed in the village, challenges societal norms and forms an unlikely alliance with Mishti. This raises questions about societal expectations, prejudice, and the power dynamics within a community.

Be prepared to engage in lively discussions about the characters’ choices, their true motivations, and the impact of secrets and deceit on relationships. Get ready for a thought-provoking book club discussion that delves deep into the intricacies of human nature in this compelling debut novel by Disha Bose.

I hope you will enjoy the following book club discussion questions and reading guide for Dirty Laundry by Disha Bose!

The Synopsis

Ciara Dunphy has it all—a loving husband, well-behaved children, and a beautiful home. Her circle of friends in their small Irish village go to her for tips about mothering, style, and influencer success—a picture-perfect life is easy money on Instagram. But behind the filters, reality is less polished.

Enter Mishti Guha: Ciara’s best friend. Ciara welcomed Mishti into her inner circle for being . . . unlike the other mothers in the group. Discontent in a marriage arranged for her by her parents back in Calcutta, Mishti now raises her young daughter in a country that is too cold, among children who look nothing like her. She wants what Ciara has—the ease with which she moves through the world—and, in that sense, Mishti might be exactly like the other mothers.

And there’s earth mother Lauren Doyle: born, bred, and the butt of jokes in their village. With her disheveled partner and children who run naked in the yard, they’re mostly a happy lot, though ostracized for being the singular dysfunction in Ciara’s immaculate world. When Lauren finds an unlikely ally in Mishti, she decides that her days of ridicule are over.

Then Ciara is found murdered in her own pristine home, and the house of cards she’d worked so hard to build comes crumbling down. Everyone seems to have something to gain from Ciara’s death, so if they don’t want the blame, it may be the perfect time to air their enemies’ dirty laundry.

In this dazzling debut novel, Disha Bose revolutionizes age-old ideas of love and deceit. What ensues is the delicious unspooling of a group of women desperate to preserve themselves.

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Book Club Questions for Dirty Laundry

I hope you and your book club will enjoy my discussion reading guide for Dirty Laundry by Disha Bose. ✨

  • How does Ciara Dunphy’s carefully curated social media presence contrast with the reality of her life as revealed in the book? What does this say about the nature of social media and the concept of influencer success?
  • Mishti Guha’s experience as an immigrant in Ireland is a central theme in the book. How does her struggle with cultural differences and the challenges of raising her daughter in a foreign country impact her relationship with Ciara and the other mothers in their village? How does Mishti’s background influence her actions and decisions throughout the story?
  • Lauren Doyle is portrayed as an outsider in the village, often ridiculed by the other mothers. How does she cope with being different and how does her friendship with Mishti change her perspective on her own life? What role does Lauren play in the unraveling of Ciara’s murder?
  • The book explores the concept of motherhood in various ways, including Ciara’s pursuit of a picture-perfect life on social media, Mishti’s struggles with cultural expectations, and Lauren’s unconventional approach to parenting. How do these different perspectives on motherhood shape the story and its characters? What commentary does the book make about societal expectations of mothers?
  • Ciara’s murder serves as the catalyst for the events of the book. Discuss the different motives and potential suspects in Ciara’s murder, including her husband, her friends, and other members of the village. How do their relationships with Ciara and their individual desires and secrets contribute to the mystery?
  • The book is set in Ireland, and the author, Disha Bose, is originally from India. How does the cultural background of the characters, including their Irish and Indian heritage, influence their actions and decisions? How does the setting of Ireland add to the atmosphere and tone of the story?
  • The theme of deception runs throughout the book, with characters hiding secrets, presenting false personas, and concealing their true intentions. Discuss the different forms of deception in the story and how they impact the plot and relationships between characters. How do the characters’ desires for self-preservation and self-presentation drive their actions?
  • The book challenges traditional ideas of love and deceit. Explore the different relationships portrayed in the story, including friendships, marriages, and romantic entanglements. How do the characters’ perceptions of love and deceit evolve throughout the book, and what lessons can be drawn from their experiences?
  • The concept of “dirty laundry” is explored in various ways in the book, from the literal dirty laundry that Lauren’s children run around in, to the metaphorical dirty laundry of the characters’ secrets and hidden truths. How does the theme of dirty laundry manifest in the story, and how does it contribute to the overall narrative and character development?
  • The book raises questions about the facade of perfection and the reality of human flaws. Discuss how the characters’ imperfections and vulnerabilities are revealed throughout the story, and how they affect their relationships and actions. What message do you think the author is conveying about the nature of humanity and the pursuit of perfection?
  • In Dirty Laundry, Ciara Dunphy is portrayed as having a perfect life on Instagram, but the reality is different. How does social media influence the perception of one’s life, and how does Ciara’s online presence contrast with her true self as revealed in the story?
  • Mishti Guha, an immigrant from Calcutta, is depicted as longing for the ease with which Ciara moves through the world. How does Mishti’s background and cultural differences affect her interactions with Ciara and the other mothers in the village? How does she navigate the challenges of assimilation and finding her place in a foreign country?
  • Lauren Doyle is portrayed as an earth mother who is ostracized in the village for being different from Ciara’s polished image. How does Lauren’s character challenge societal norms of motherhood and femininity? How does she cope with the ridicule she faces and how does her relationship with Mishti evolve throughout the story?
  • The murder of Ciara Dunphy is a central event in the book. Discuss the impact of Ciara’s death on the other characters, their relationships, and the dynamics of the small Irish village. How does it expose the hidden truths and secrets of the characters, and how do they react to the unraveling of Ciara’s perfect facade?
  • The theme of female friendship is prominent in Dirty Laundry, with Ciara, Mishti, and Lauren forming an unlikely bond. How does their friendship evolve throughout the story, and how do they support or betray each other? Discuss the complexities of female friendships portrayed in the book, including the challenges, conflicts, and strengths.
  • Disha Bose, the author of Dirty Laundry, is an immigrant from India living in Ireland. How does her personal background and experiences influence the story and the portrayal of characters like Mishti? Discuss the themes of identity, belonging, and cultural assimilation as depicted in the book.
  • The concept of motherhood is explored in various ways in the book, including Ciara’s Instagram-perfect portrayal, Mishti’s struggles with an arranged marriage, and Lauren’s unconventional approach. How does the book challenge traditional notions of motherhood and parenting? Discuss the societal expectations, pressures, and sacrifices associated with motherhood as depicted in the story.
  • The story is set in a small Irish village, and the village itself becomes a character with its own dynamics and gossip. How does the village setting impact the events and relationships in the story? Discuss the role of the village as a backdrop and catalyst for the plot, and how it influences the characters’ actions and decisions.
  • Dirty Laundry touches upon themes of love and deceit. Discuss the different forms of love portrayed in the book, including romantic love, familial love, platonic love, and self-love. How do the characters’ relationships and choices related to love contribute to the development of the plot and their individual arcs?
  • The title “Dirty Laundry” suggests that the characters in the story have secrets and hidden truths that come to light. Discuss the concept of dirty laundry in the book, including the characters’ motivations for keeping secrets, the consequences of revealing or concealing truths, and the overall theme of honesty and authenticity in relationships.

Selected Reviews for Dirty Laundry

“Disha Bose’s Dirty Laundry is not only a propulsive page-turner but also an intimate exploration of love, race, immigration, and class. . . . Twisty, smart, and moving: a wonderful read.”—Jean Kwok

“Rendered in skillful prose and animated by the author’s keen eye for psychological detail, Disha Bose charts a bracing, unconventional path through the familiar landscape of domestic suspense. . . . A captivating debut by an enormously talented author.”—Elizabeth Little

“Disha writes stunning prose and her characters jump off the page. Dirty Laundry is a devastating examination of what lies beneath the surface of three suburban marriages, and how we can never truly leave our past behind.”—Nikki Smith

Additional Recommendations

Hope you enjoyed my book club discussion questions and reading guide for Dirty Laundry by Disha Bose!

Here are some more of my book club recommendations:

One of Us Is Dead by Jeneva Rose
one of us is dead book

Opulence. Sex. Betrayal … Sometimes friendship can be deadly.

Meet the women of Buckhead–a place of expensive cars, huge houses, and competitive friendships.

Shannon was once the queen bee of Buckhead. But she’s been unceremoniously dumped by Bryce, her politician husband. When Bryce replaces her with a much younger woman, Shannon sets out to take revenge …

Crystal has stepped into Shannon’s old shoes. A young, innocent Texan girl, she simply has no idea what she’s up against …

Olivia has waited years to take Shannon’s crown as the unofficial queen of Buckhead. Finally, her moment has come. But to take her rightful place, she will need to use every backstabbing, manipulative, underhand trick in the book …

Jenny owns Glow, the most exclusive salon in town. Jenny knows all her clients’ secrets and darkest desires. But will she ever tell?

Who amongst these women will be clever enough to survive Buckhead–and who will wind up dead? They say that friendships can be complex, but no one said it could ever be this deadly.

And Then There’s Margaret by Carolyn Clarke
and then theres margaret book

When Allison Montgomery’s beloved father-in-law and long-time confidant passes away, her mother-in-law, Margaret, ‘temporarily’ moves in. From rearranging the furniture and taking over the kitchen, to undermining and embarrassing Allie at every turn, including funding her daughter’s escape, throwing a hissy fit at the mall, and publicly equating Allie’s glass of Chardonnay to full blown alcoholism, Margaret turns Allie’s life upside down causing her to bounce between a sincere desire to support her grieving mother-in-law and an intense urge to simply push her out of the nearest window.

Feeling annoyed, trapped and even a little childish, Allie struggles to avoid a complete meltdown with help from her fearless and audacious best friend, a plan for reinventing herself and enjoying a second act, and, yes, a few glasses of Chardonnay. Along the way, Allie discovers the reasons behind Margaret’s attitude toward her all these years. Does it help? Maybe…

Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld
romantic comedy book

Sally Milz is a sketch writer for The Night Owls, a late-night live comedy show that airs every SaturdayWith a couple of heartbreaks under her belt, she’s long abandoned the search for love, settling instead for the occasional hook-up, career success, and a close relationship with her stepfather to round out a satisfying life.

But when Sally’s friend and fellow writer Danny Horst begins dating Annabel, a glamorous actress who guest-hosted the show, he joins the not-so-exclusive group of talented but average-looking and even dorky men at the show—and in society at large—who’ve gotten romantically involved with incredibly beautiful and accomplished women. Sally channels her annoyance into a sketch called the Danny Horst Rule, poking fun at this phenomenon while underscoring how unlikely it is that the reverse would ever happen for a woman.

Enter Noah Brewster, a pop music sensation with a reputation for dating models, who signed on as both host and musical guest for this week’s show. Dazzled by his charms, Sally hits it off with Noah instantly, and as they collaborate on one sketch after another, she begins to wonder if there might actually be sparks flying. But this isn’t a romantic comedy—it’s real life. And in real life, someone like him would never date someone like her . . . right?

With her keen observations and trademark ability to bring complex women to life on the page, Curtis Sittenfeld explores the neurosis-inducing and heart-fluttering wonder of love, while slyly dissecting the social rituals of romance and gender relations in the modern age.

Thank you for reading my book club discussion questions and as always, happy reading! ❤️