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Book Club Questions for Things I Wish I Told My Mother by Susan Patterson

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Book club discussion questions for Things I Wish I Told My Mother by Susan Patterson explore the complex dynamics of a mother-daughter relationship between Lauren and Dr. Liz, two contrasting characters with distinct personalities and lifestyles.

In this captivating story, we meet Lauren, an adventurous advertising executive, and her perfectionist mother, Dr. Liz. When Lauren takes her mother on a trip to Paris and Norway after a health scare, their journey becomes an emotional rollercoaster ride filled with secrets, emotions, and revelations.

As we follow along, we can’t help but reflect on our own experiences with our mothers or daughters, and how family dynamics can shape our lives.

Patterson’s vivid storytelling and relatable characters make this book a perfect choice for a book club discussion. We can delve into the motivations of the characters, their growth and development, and how their relationship evolves throughout the story. The setting of Paris and Norway adds an extra layer of depth to the plot, and we can explore how the locations mirror the characters’ emotional journey.

As we share our thoughts, we can also discuss the themes of communication, forgiveness, and understanding in the context of family relationships.

What would we have wished to tell our own mothers or daughters? How do we navigate differences and secrets within our families? These questions and more can open up heartfelt discussions and allow us to connect on a personal level.

So, grab a cup of tea or coffee, gather with fellow book lovers, and let’s dive into Things I Wish I Told My Mother. Get ready for an enriching book club discussion that will explore the complexities of motherhood, family bonds, and the power of communication in our lives.

I hope you will enjoy the following book club questions and reading guide for Things I Wish I Told My Mother by Susan Patterson! ✨

The Synopsis

A mother and daughter on vacation in Paris unpack a lifetime of secrets and hopes—with a giant Pattersonian twist at the end!

Every daughter has her own distinctive voice, her inimitable style, and her secrets.
Laurie is an artist, a collector of experiences. She travels the world with a worn beige duffel bag.

Every mother has her own distinctive voice, her inimitable style, and her secrets.
“Dr. Liz,” Laurie’s mother, is an elegant perfectionist who travels the world with a matched set of suitcases.

When Laurie surprises her mother with a dream vacation, it brings an unexpected sparkle to her eyes. So begins Things I Wish I Told My Mother. You will wish this novel never ends.

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Book Club Questions for Things I Wish I Told My Mother

I hope you and your book club will enjoy my discussion reading guide for Things I Wish I Told My Mother by Susan Patterson. ✨

  • THINGS I WISH I TOLD MY MOTHER delves into the complex nature of secrets between mothers and daughters. Reflecting on the novel, what are some secrets that you have always wanted to share with your mother or daughter? How do these secrets shape your relationship and communication with each other?
  • Liz and Laurie’s relationship in the novel showcases both similarities and differences that may resonate with your own relationships. In what ways do you see your own relationships reflected in Liz and Laurie’s dynamic? How are you similar or different from them? Do you have any regrets when it comes to your relationships with your mother or daughter?
  • If you could embark on a dream vacation with your mother or daughter, anywhere in the world, where would you choose to go? Describe the destination and explain why it holds significance for you and your relationship.
  • Creating a mother-daughter bucket list can be a meaningful way to bond and create cherished memories. What are some items that would be on your mother-daughter bucket list? Share your ideas and discuss why these activities or experiences are important to you both.
  • The relationship between Lauren and Dr. Liz in Things I Wish I Told My Mother is portrayed as complex and multifaceted. How do their differing personalities, careers, and approaches to life affect their relationship? How do their perceptions of each other change throughout the book, and what moments or events contribute to these shifts?
  • In the novel, Lauren takes her mother on a trip to Paris and Norway as a way to reconnect and bridge the gap between them. How does travel serve as a metaphor for their relationship? How does the change in environment and experiences they share together impact their dynamics and bring their secrets and emotions to the surface?
  • Lauren and Dr. Liz have contrasting lifestyles and priorities, with Lauren being adventurous and low maintenance, while Dr. Liz is high maintenance and focused on her career. How do these differences influence their perspectives on life, love, and happiness? How do their choices and actions reflect their individual values and desires?
  • Secrets play a significant role in the story, with both Lauren and Dr. Liz harboring undisclosed truths from each other. How do these secrets affect their relationship and interactions? Do you believe that honesty is always the best policy in parent-child relationships, or are there situations where keeping secrets may be justified?
  • Throughout the book, there are moments of tension and conflict between Lauren and Dr. Liz, as well as moments of closeness and understanding. How do these emotional fluctuations impact their journey of self-discovery and healing? What lessons can be learned from their struggles and triumphs in navigating their complicated relationship?
  • The theme of self-discovery is prominent in the novel, as Lauren and Dr. Liz confront their past, confront their fears, and reveal their true selves to each other. How does self-discovery contribute to their growth as individuals and as a mother-daughter duo? What obstacles do they face in understanding themselves and each other better?
  • The twist at the end of the novel adds a surprising element to the story. How did it change your perception of the characters and their relationship? Did it alter your interpretation of the events that occurred throughout the book? Discuss the impact of the twist on your overall understanding of the story and its themes.
  • The novel touches upon the themes of love, forgiveness, and acceptance. How do these themes manifest in the relationship between Lauren and Dr. Liz? How do they navigate past mistakes, regrets, and misunderstandings to ultimately find understanding and resolution? Discuss the significance of these themes in the context of their mother-daughter relationship.
  • The book portrays a range of emotions, from laughter to tears, and explores the intricacies of human connections. Which moments or scenes resonated with you the most emotionally, and why? How did the authors effectively convey these emotions through their writing? Discuss the impact of the emotional journey of the characters on your own emotions as a reader.
  • Reflecting on your own relationships with your mother, daughter, or other significant figures in your life, what similarities and differences do you see between your dynamics and those of Lauren and Dr. Liz? How has reading Things I Wish I Told My Mother affected your perspective on your own relationships and the complexities of parent-child dynamics?
  • Using just one word, describe your mother or daughter and explain why you chose that particular word. How does that word encapsulate your perception of her and your relationship with her?
  • Reflecting on the passage of time, how has your relationship with your mother or daughter evolved over the years? Discuss the changes, challenges, and growth that you have experienced together and how it has shaped your relationship into what it is today.
  • Every mother-daughter relationship has its unique characteristics. What do you consider to be the best and worst aspects of your mother-daughter relationship? How do these characteristics impact your interactions and communication with each other?
  • The idea of losing a loved one can be heart-wrenching. If you were to lose your mother today and had the opportunity to speak with her one last time, what would you say to her? Reflect on the emotions, thoughts, and words that would be important for you to express.
  • Share a favorite mother-daughter memory, such as a recipe you enjoy cooking together, a cherished photo, a special place you like to visit, a song that holds significance, or an activity you love doing together. Discuss why these memories are meaningful to you and how they have strengthened your bond.
  • Mothers play a significant role in shaping their daughters, and daughters often have valuable lessons to teach their mothers as well. Reflect on the most important thing your mother has taught you and how it has influenced your life. Mothers, share what you have learned from your daughters and how it has impacted your perspective and experiences.

Selected Reviews for Things I Wish I Told My Mother

“Diverting mother-daughter tale.”―Booklist

“This feel-good story makes a convincing case for the importance of familial love.”―Publishers Weekly

“Every mother and daughter should have conversations that change their lives. This book will win your heart!” –Elin Hilderbrand

Additional Recommendations

Hope you enjoyed my book club discussion questions and reading guide for Things I Wish I Told My Mother by Susan Patterson!

Here are some more of my book club recommendations:

The Forgiving Kind by Donna Everhart

For twelve-year-old Martha “Sonny” Creech, there is no place more beautiful than her family’s cotton farm. She, her two brothers, and her parents work hard on their land—hoeing, planting, picking—but only Sonny loves the rich, dark earth the way her father does. When a tragic accident claims his life, her stricken family struggles to fend off ruin—until their rich, reclusive neighbor offers to help finance that year’s cotton crop.

Sonny is dismayed when her mama accepts Frank Fowler’s offer; even more so when Sonny’s best friend, Daniel, points out that the man has ulterior motives. Sonny has a talent for divining water—an ability she shared with her father and earns her the hated nickname “water witch” in school. But uncanny as that skill may be, it won’t be enough to offset Mr. Fowler’s disturbing influence in her world.

Even her bond with Daniel begins to collapse under the weight of Mr. Fowler’s bigoted taunts. Though she tries to bury her misgivings for the sake of her mama’s happiness, Sonny doesn’t need a willow branch to divine that a reckoning is coming, bringing with it heartache, violence—and perhaps, a fitting and surprising measure of justice.

Overkill by Sandra Brown

Former Super Bowl MVP quarterback Zach Bridger hasn’t seen his ex-wife, Rebecca Pratt, for some time—not since their volatile marriage imploded—so he’s shocked to receive a life-altering call about her. Rebecca has been placed on life support after a violent assault, and he—despite their divorce—has medical power-of-attorney. Zach is asked to make an impossible choice: keep her on life support or take her off of it. Buckling under the weight of the responsibility and the glare of public scrutiny, Zach ultimately walks away, letting Rebecca’s parents have the final say.

Four years later, Rebecca’s attacker, Eban—the scion of a wealthy family in Atlanta—gets an early release from prison. The ludicrous miscarriage of justice reeks of favoritism, and Kate Lennon, a brilliant state prosecutor, is determined to put him back behind bars. Rebecca’s parents have kept her alive all these years, but if her condition were to change—if she were to die—Eban could be retried on a new charge: murder.

It isn’t lost on Zach that in order for Eban to be charged with Rebecca’s murder, Zach must actually be the one to kill her. He rejects Kate’s legal standpoint but can’t resist their ill-timed attraction to each other. Eban, having realized the jeopardy he’s in, plots to make certain that neither Zach nor Kate lives to see the death of Rebecca—and the end of his freedom. 

The Couple Next Door by A.J. Rivers

Kara Davis had the perfect life. A doting husband, a beautiful home, and everything she could have ever wanted. But in an instant her source of happiness was tragically taken from her.
Since then, nothing has ever been the same, and the paralyzing sadness within her followed her everywhere she went…
Unbeknownst to Kara, her life was once again about to face another change.
All thanks to the arrival of the couple next door.

FBI agent Ava James has had to fight all her life.
From fighting from being a victim of human traffickers to fighting for years to find her best friend.
Safe to say Ava James is no stranger to fighting the atrocities of this world.
When Ava is called onto a case and meets a seemingly sweet woman, Kara Davis.
A lonely widow living in a big house on her own.
Ava realizes the true price of succumbing to your past and becoming a victim of one’s own tragedies.
But what happens when you can’t even trust your own mind?
How far would someone go to get the happiness they feel they deserved?

Nothing in this world is certain.
Strange things are happening all around.
The only question is…
How far can your obsession take you?

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