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From Wendy Wax, acclaimed author of The Accidental Bestseller, comes a witty, heartwarming tale of four Southern women letting go of their secrets and gaining control of their lives.
Vivian Gray has spent much of her adult life building her credibility as a television network newscaster in Manhattan only to have her hard work undone by a bullet to her backside. After video of her sting-gone-wrongóand stinging rumpómake it to YouTube, Vivi discovers sheís being replaced by a younger, blonder reporter, leaving her with neither a shred of dignity nor a job. With all the upheaval, Vivi hardly has time to think what her moneyed Southern family or successful news correspondent boyfriend, Stone, will think of her latest mess; until, that is, the hospital calls with some heart-stopping news: the 41-year-old, now-jobless Vivi is two months pregnant.
Vivi decides to keep her pregnancy a secret as long as possible, not even telling Stone when he phones from an assignment in the Middle East. Instead, she concentrates on finding a job, eventually landing a gossip column on one of the only topics she knows nothing about: life in suburbia. Planning to secretly research the column, which will be written under the pseudonym Scarlet Leigh, Vivi decides to spend time with her widowed sister Melanie and her kids in an Atlanta suburb. She soon finds out, though, that she isnít the only one sinking under the weight of her secrets.
Taking belly dancing lessons at Melís Magnolia Ballroom, Vivi finally manages to bond with her sister, and makes some new friends. But will they still be willing to support her when her alter ego and secret investigation become public?
Wendy Wax is the author of seven previous novels. A former broadcaster, she lives in the Atlanta suburbs with her husband and two teenage sons, who have turned her into the shortest member of their family.
- At what point in the story did you suspect that Vivi was pregnant? Did any of her actions before that discovery serve as clues?
- Do you find Vivi to be likeable character? Does your opinion of her changeóperhaps multiple timesóas the story progresses? Do you find Mel to be too forgiving of Viviís missteps?
- What were your initial feelings about Viviís investigation into JJís death? Did your opinion change when the truth about his death was revealed?
- On pages 223-224, Mel, Vivi, Ruth, and Angela discuss how secrets should be kept out of relationships, yet secrets seem to be at the center of each of their lives. Discuss the secrets that exist in each of their relationships. Do you believe that some secrets are better left untold?
- Do you think that Viviís reasons for keeping her pregnancy hidden from Stone are valid? Was Stoneís reaction surprising? Discuss how you would have reacted in his position.
- On multiple occasions, Vivi wrestles with whether or not to expose her niece Shelbyís dating life to Mel. Do you think that Vivi handles these situations wisely? What, if anything, do you think Viviís relationship with her niece and nephew says about her own readiness to be a parent?
- Do you agree with Angelaís belief that Viviís gossip columns tell important truths that no one is willing to face on his or her own? Discuss your own reaction to Postcards from Suburbia and whether Vivi has any other choice but to publish the scathing column.
- Vivi and Mel were brought up to fear, above most everything else, bringing shame upon their family name. Do you believe this upbringing has anything to do with the sistersí inability to recognize certain problems in their own lives? Discuss instances where Vivi and Mel are able to point out each otherís flaws, but canít recognize similar flaws within themselves.
- Discuss the ending of the novel. Are you satisfied by the closure that each character finds? What more do you hope would happened for Mel, Vivi, Ruth, and Angela?
- What do you think is the major theme of Magnolia Wednesdays? Are there any lessons to take from this novel regarding both the positive and negative power of secrets, family, and/or friendships?
- Author Wendy Wax says that she went to the University of Georgia after reading Gone With the Wind too many times. Does this enhance your experience reading Magnolia Wednesdays?