|The Perfectly True Tales of a Perfect Size 12|
Delilah White, television’s semifamous (to her own shock) and completely endearing Domestic Diva, likes herself just the way she is: a perfect size 12. When her boss announces that she’s taking an early retirement, Delilah finds herself pitted against her rival, the statuesque Margo Hart, for one of the most coveted promotions in television. As the office politics heat to a rapid boil, Delilah escapes for a long weekend at her friend’s family estate in the Catskills, only to encounter two surprise houseguests who turn her world upside down and threaten to destroy it. Armed only with a pink polka-dot bikini and her sometimes overactive imagination, Delilah struggles to avoid her budding romance (with a man who just might be unavailable) while salvaging an unthinkable blunder at the office. As one disaster follows another, Delilah musters all her charm, ingenuity, and spirit; but will it be enough to help her come out on top?
Robin Gold lives in New York City without her husband, because she hasn’t met him yet. She won the Principal’s Writing Contest in second grade for scribing her elementary school’s official song, which she considers one of her greatest achievements, and has been writing, mostly just for fun, ever since. Visit the author’s website at www.robingold.com. If your book club would like to discuss The Perfectly True Tales of a Perfect Size 12, Robin Gold is often available to speak with groups in person or via conference call, and will likely make you laugh until it hurts. For more information, please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q. What inspired this funny novel?
A. I’ve always been fascinated by how people choose to both define and create their own personal happiness and success (or lack thereof). It’s a universal topic that I thought would be compelling and fun to explore. I was also interested in writing a story with the primary goal of making readers smile—I didn’t set out to scribe a literary masterpiece like For Whom the Bell Tolls or Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets; I just hoped to create a tale that would hopefully make readers feel good and forget about their woes for a few hours.
Q. Are your characters based on real people you know, and is there any character in the book that you feel resembles you closely?
A. The characters aren’t necessarily “based” on people who I know, but some of them are definitely inspired by or share certain traits with people who I know, which is both fortunate and rather unfortunate! I think there’s probably a little bit of me in all of the characters—the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Q. Is Perfect Size 12a message book”? Does it have a social agenda?
A. Not on an overt or driving level. I suppose it contains a certain degree of social commentary, but that’s not the main point, it isn’t what the story’s about. I’m not a fan of material that bonks readers over the head with some kind of “important” lesson. Besides, who am I to impart wisdom? I doodle “I heart Sayid” (from TV’s Lost) on the back of notebooks. If anything, the book proposes that “perfect” does not exist. There’s no such thing as a “perfect” anything, so striving to achieve such is an impossible feat that can’t really lead to happiness. (I was a fortune cookie in a past life.)
Q. It’s been noted that your novel seems to straddle several different genres. Do you consider it a humor book, or women’s fiction, or what?
A. It’s important to realize that marketing departments like to label novels with an easy, user-friendly tag in order to help best promote them. What matters to me isn’t how the book’s categorized or what store shelf it sits on, but whether or not readers genuinely connect with the story and feel satisfied and maybe even a little bit moved when they reach the final page. I care about whether or not they close the book with a smile on their face wanting more—ridiculously corny as that sounds. But, to answer your question, I consider the book a historical thriller.
Q. What’s up with the ending of the book? Is Delilah’s story going to continue?
A. That’s really all up to readers and how they respond to the material. So far so good—knock on wood! I’ve received some lovely and encouraging e-mails from readers and nobody’s hurled rocks at my head yet, which I have to admit is a welcome relief. The truth is, I would love to carry on Delilah White’s adventure—I hope this is only the beginning of her tale.
Q. Who are some of your favorite writers, and does this book have any direct literary influences?
A. I’m passionate about a wide variety of writers, but my favorites include Truman Capote, Steve Martin, David Sedaris, Tennessee Williams, Charles Addams—though he’s known mostly for his cartoons—and Linnea, who was a student this past year in the second grade classroom of my sister who’s an elementary school teacher. The darn little eight-year-old bugger writes the most funny yet profound poetry and short stories that make me laugh and cry at the same time. I’m a sucker for truthful, heavy-hearted humor and am most influenced by writers and artists with a penchant for such material.
Q. What are you working on now?
A. I’m working on a new novel that I’m incredibly excited about. I’m not quite ready to spill the beans yet, but suffice to say it’s both hilarious and poignant, according to my grandmother. She’s 92 and thinks wilted salad is delicious, but I still believe her.
- Describe Delilah White both physically and psychologically. What is her character’s greatest strength? What is her character’s greatest weakness?
- Compare and contrast the portrayal of body image and self-esteem in this novel with another contemporary book featuring a female protagonist (i.e., Bridget Jones’s Diary). What similarities or differences do you notice in the depiction of the characters? How does each character deal with their individual self-esteem and confidence issues? Describe Delilah’s view of herself and how it relates to that of today’s “average” modern woman.
- Cherry Pond is a central setting in the novel. How is it a metaphor for the relationship between Delilah and Jack? How is it a metaphor for the relationship between Sofia and Delilah? How is it a metaphor for life? If you were invited to spend a weekend at Cherry Pond and could bring along one guest, who would it be and why?
- Toward the end of the novel, Delilah shares an important discovery with Sofia, explaining, “The Margo Harts of this world, sadly enough, are a dime a dozen. Our industry’s crawling with them! Hell, the world’s crawling with ’em!” Are you more or less sympathetic to Margo’s character by the end of the book? Why? What is her character’s greatest strength? What drives and motivates Margo? How does this compare or contrast to what drives and motivates Delilah? Have you ever encountered a Margo Hart? If so, how did this person make you feel?
- There’s a large cast of supporting characters in The Perfectly True Tales of a Perfect Size 12. Were there any that you wish were featured more prominently in the novel? If so, who and why? Which character in the book do you most identify with? Why? Which character do you consider to be the least relatable?
- The novel concludes with the words “The Beginning.” What did you think of this ending? Would you like to see The Perfectly True Tales of a Perfect Size 12 turned into a book series? If Delilah’s perfectly true adventure does indeed continue, describe some of the things you’d like to see happen in the next book. What are some of the things that you would not like to see happen? What role do you envision Margo Hart playing in the next installment?
- How would Delilah’s character and the overall story change if she was not a perfect size 12, but rather a smaller or larger size?
- The Perfectly True Tales of a Perfect Size 12 explores several main themes including self-actualization and its correlation to personal happiness and fulfillment. What is your own definition of “happiness”? Are you happy? For Delilah to create her own happiness, she acknowledges that she must take a large, frightening risk. She does not accept this fact until she reaches a particularly low point (“…maybe, she just had to sink to a certain level of desperation, the kind of desperation that makes one quake first with fear, and then with enlightenment, to find the courage required to face the truth and take the leap into the unknown, having the faith in herself to know she can succeed, if only she’ll let herself try”). Do you believe Delilah would have quit her job at Domestic Bliss in order to pursue her real dream if Margo had not come to Cherry Pond or sabotaged her at work in the first place?
- Discuss some of the ways in which the concept of independence plays a significant role in the book.
- What is your favorite scene in the book? Why?
- If the novel were a movie or TV show, whom would you cast as Delilah, Jack, Margo, and Sofia?
- Is The Perfectly True Tales of a Perfect Size 12 a fairy tale? If so, why?
- 13. The Perfectly True Tales of a Perfect Size 12 is about:
A.) Personal achievement
B.) Professional achievement
C.) Body size
D.) Dueling domestic divas
E.) A, B & D