Lizzie's life is so perfect she has to look down to see cloud nine...until she realizes she's about to hit the dreaded four-oh. For most women, turning forty is more dangerous than wearing a bikini thong in a big surf. Not Lizzie. Until, that is, she loses her job to a younger, more telegenic journalist -- and her husband to a sex goddess who keeps fit by doing step aerobics off her ego. That's when she starts to wonder about brains versus Botox. For Lizzie's sister, beauty is one of the most natural and lovely things money can buy. But must Lizzie go under the knife to win back the man she loves? The answer is as obvious as a pre-1990s nose job. This book will have you in stitches...literally! Love, adultery, death, and a disastrous bikini wax
Reading Group Guide
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Readers Group Guide About this Guide The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for discussion for Kathy Lette's A Stitch in Time. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book. Many fine books from Washington Square Press feature Readers Club Guides. For a complete listing, or to read the guides online, visit www.BookClubReader.com. Questions and Topics for Discussion
As A Stitch in Time unfolds, Lizzie is looking back and recounting events that took place during the year between her thirty-ninth and fortieth birthdays. What advantage does this perspective give her in telling the story? What conclusions does she come to about her own actions and about the people in her life?
Lizzie says about Hugo, "What I could never work out was why he'd fallen for me," part of which she attributes to his being more physically attractive than she is. Is "physical compatibility" an issue in a relationship? How about specifically regarding Lizzie and Hugo's marriage?
When Hugo first meets Britney, he says to her, "We're totally aware of racism and sexism these days. But 'lookism' is one of the most pervasive, albeit most denied, prejudices...Society confuses beauty with goodness. Police, judges, juries -- they're all more lenient towards pretty women." Do you agree with Hugo? Are there examples in the book that support his statement? How does this comment reflect on Hugo, given that he changes his professional focus to take up cosmetic surgery?
Despite its humor, A Stitch in Time touches on serious personal and social issues. Did you react to the book more as Lizzie's personal story or as a larger, more universal one? Which one theme in this novel resonated the most strongly with you?
Lizzie and Victoria each make reference to their less-than-stellar upbringing. How do their childhood experiences continue to affect them and the decisions they make? How would you describe Lizzie as a mother? In what ways does Victoria's relationship with Marrakech change throughout the story?
When Lizzie sees the videotape of Hugo and Victoria having sex (on her couch), she admits she still "adores" him and does not want to end her marriage. But she tells Victoria she never wants to see her again. Why is she willing to forgive Hugo but not her sister? Is this hypocritical? Do you agree with her decision?
Describe Victoria and Lizzie's relationship before the incident with Hugo. Despite their vast differences, do they share any similarities? Lizzie feels that all her life she has been "second best to Victoria," while Victoria thinks that Lizzie has always had the perfect life. Which one is right? Did you empathize with one woman more than the other?
Lizzie is a smart, sassy woman given to voicing her opinion and exercising her sarcastic wit. Why then does she keep silent in so many instances when Hugo is degrading her, including his assertion that losing her job will give her more time to devote to being his trophy wife?
"For the first time I felt the true vertiginous terror of losing my foundation, my rock, my husband, my Hugo," Lizzie reveals. "As an abandoned, unemployed mother of two, there was only one course of action." Why does Lizzie, who has always been against cosmetic enhancements, feel her only course of action is to undergo extreme plastic surgery?
Once Lizzie is "beautiful, blond and busty" like her sister, she achieves her two main objectives -- her husband returns home and she gets her job as a newscaster back. Why doesn't this bring her the happiness and satisfaction she thought it would?
Why does Lizzie decide to reverse the plastic surgery, the hair coloring and the other enhancements she had done? Was she right to air her grievances -- and her breast implants -- on television? Why do you suppose she was flooded with job offers after her on-air performance?
Lizzie and Victoria exact revenge on Sven and also on Hugo by forcing him to perform the cosmetic surgery. Were they justified in their scheme for revenge?
Discuss the romantic relationships that have developed by the end of the story -- Lizzie and Cal, Victoria and Bruce. What made Lizzie ultimately see that Cal is the man for her?
Lizzie ruminates that "for females, turning forty is more dangerous than a beach-thong in a big surf." What is it about turning forty that is such a powerful psychological turning point for some women? Is there a different standard for aging women in our society than there is for men?
How do Lizzie, Victoria and even Britney each reveal aspects of what it's like for women to age in a society obsessed with youth, beauty and physical perfection? How do the media and other industries like cosmetic and fashion companies contribute to this perception? Do women themselves need to shoulder some of the blame for the way society treats aging women?
Kathy Lette first achieved literary success as a teenager with Puberty Blues. After years as a newspaper columnist and television sitcom writer, she went on to write the novels Girls' Night Out, The Llama Parlour, Foetal Attraction, Mad Cows, Alter Ego, and Nip 'n' Tuck --all international bestsellers. She lives in London.
Publisher: Washington Square Press (August 2, 2005)