Book club guide: "Rich and Pretty" by Rumaan Alam discussion questions and menu
Rich and Pretty is a thought-provoking book about friendship — which makes it a perfect read for a book club full of friends. You and you friends will wonder which woman in this typically complex relationship you are more like, and you'll probably realize that you identify with each one in different contexts. This fun and emotional novel is a perfect pick for a group of girlfriends who love to chat over brunch.
As close as sisters for twenty years, Sarah and Lauren have been together through high school and college, first jobs and first loves, the uncertainties of their twenties and the realities of their thirties.
Sarah, the only child of a prominent intellectual and a socialite, works at a charity and is methodically planning her wedding. Lauren—beautiful, independent, and unpredictable—is single and working in publishing, deflecting her parents’ worries and questions about her life and future by trying not to think about it herself. Each woman envies—and is horrified by—particular aspects of the other’s life, topics of conversation they avoid with masterful linguistic pirouettes.
Once, Sarah and Lauren were inseparable; for a long a time now, they’ve been apart. Can two women who rarely see one other, selectively share secrets, and lead different lives still call themselves best friends? Is it their abiding connection—or just force of habit—that keeps them together?
"RICH AND PRETTY" DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
- Think of your best friend. To what extent is the quality of your friendship determined by how long you've known each other?
- Are Sarah and Lauren opposites? In what ways are they similar?
- What role do the women's families play in how attached they are to each other?
- How do romantic relationships affect the way the women see each other?
- How would you help Sarah and Lauren improve their relationship?
- How do the women view themselves? What shortcomings do they project on to each other?
- Are Sarah and Lauren honest with each other? Are they accepting of each other?
- It's natural for childhood friends to drift a bit as they grow and change. What is the best way to manage that sort of transformation within a relationship?
This menu riffs off the recipe in our recent pairing — classic New York black and white cookies that are special because they are made of two opposing halves. Here, we take the deli brunch theme further, with something savory, something sweet and, of course, something coffee.