Innocents and Others
Innocents and Others is about two women who grow up in LA in the 80s and become filmmakers. Meadow and Carrie have everything in common—except their views on sex, power, movie-making, and morality. Their friendship is complicated, but their devotion to each other trumps their wildly different approaches to film and to life. Meadow was always the more idealistic and brainy of the two; Carrie was more pragmatic. Into their lives comes Jelly, a master of seduction who calls powerful men and seduces them not with sex, but by being a superior listener. All of these women grapple with the question of how to be good: a good lover, a good friend, a good mother, a good artist.
A startlingly acute observer of the way we live now, Dana Spiotta “has created a new kind of great American novel” (The New York Times Magazine). “Impossible to put down” (Marie Claire), Innocents and Others is “a sexy, painfully insightful, and strangely redemptive novel about the ways we misread one another—with an ending that comes at you like a truck around a blind curve and stays with you for much, much longer” (Esquire).
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Reading Group Guide
Carrie and Meadow are best friends, two women from Los Angeles who grew up together, forging a friendship through shared experiences and a love of film. Both Carrie and Meadow pursue careers as filmmakers, though their lives, and their art forms, differ. Their paths cross with Jelly, a mysterious woman who develops intimate relationships with some of the most powerful men in Hollywood by allowing them to unburden themselves of their fears and insecurities on the telephone. She never meets the men. When Meadow decides to make a documentary about Jelly, the consequences force both Meadow and Carrie to reflect on who they are, how their successes have defined them, and the power of honesty in the search for love and connection.
Topics and Questions for Discussion
1. The opening line of the book is “This is a love story.” Do you believe that line could be used to describe the whole novel? How does it set the stage, and how did your expectations shift with the twist in the opening scene?
2. We know that Meadow has been raised in see more