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Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

Good Daughters

1. The book defines a good daughter as responsible, companionable, and loving. How does that play out in the stories in Good Daughters? In real life?

2. What interfered with particular women's ability to be good daughters? How about among the women you know?

3. Good Daughters reports that aging mothers want to be independent. How did the daughters in the book respect that desire?

4. What are the signals that tell a daughter it is appropriate to interfere? Did some of the daughters in the book step in too soon? Did some wait too long?

5. How much mothering do women expect from their own mothers, even when their health and strength are declining? What do we expect without realizing it?

6. What common irritants cropped up among the daughters in the book? How about among your friends? Does it help to know that others have similar experiences?

7. When is it too late to "fix" long-standing grievances? What can you do when your mother can't participate in your relationship anymore?

8. Would some daughters be better off putting plenty of distance between themselves and their mothers? How have some daughters of truly difficult mothers preserved their equanimity without entirely abandoning their mothers?

9. What are some of the approaches the book offers to moderate the effects of long-distance daughtering so mothers won't feel as isolated, and daughters can assess their condition and needs? What approaches have you heard about that you can share with others?

10. What do elderly mothers want from their daughters? How much of what they want and need can their daughters provide?

11. Where do you draw the line betweeen duty and self-preservation when you have many responsibilities competing for your attention; or if you have a particularly difficult mother?

12. How can mothers and daughters who live together share a household respectfully and companionably?

13. The daughters in the book didn't seem to have "one last thing" they wanted to say to their mothers to straighten out their relationship. Is that realistic?

14. What have you learned from Good Daughters, and from your own and others' experiences that will change the way you treat your mother? Have you learned anything that will help you plan ahead, so you will be a "good mother" when you are elderly and your daughter is in your position?

Good Daughters
by Patricia Beard

  • Publication Date: February 15, 2013
  • Paperback: 289 pages
  • Publisher: Warner Books
  • ISBN-10: 0446523593
  • ISBN-13: 9780446523592