Emma, the irrepressible protagonist from The Baby Trail, is back for a whirlwind trip through the upside-down world of international adoption.
Emma is back, and still eager to start a family. After trying every fertility treatment in the book, as well as following a slew of advice from her friends, family, and women's magazines, she and her husband have given up on conceiving naturally. They're now trying international adoption, which should, in theory, be more pleasant than the fertility shots and postcoital headstands of their baby-making days. However, with the rigorous screening process -- including a Russian class where they learn about their potential baby's culture alongside competitive adoptive-parents-to-be and über-critical case managers -- Emma finds herself once again in over her head. The pressure to prove that she and her husband are the perfect couple, and thus the perfect parents, drives him and all her friends crazy along the way. Hilarious and heartwarming, Emma's outrageous adventures are sure to charm mothers, mothers-to-be, and nearly everyone in between.
Questions for Discussion 1. How do Emma's fantasies of what adoption will be like at the beginning of The Right Fit differ from the reality of what she experiences later? 2. Why do you think Emma sometimes isn't all that child-friendly, i.e., she's not fond of her nephew and does not make much of an effort to have relationships with her friend Jess's children. In fact, on more than one occasion Emma expresses her aversion to children. On the other hand, she adores her godchild. Why do you think this is? And do you think Emma will be a good mother to her own children? 3. At one point, Emma fumes at her mother, saying, "All I keep hearing is how when you have children your life changes so much and it's so hard and you never get time alone, blah blah blah. I'm ready for change. I'm so ready it's a joke. Not having kids is bloody hard work too. My life as I knew it hasn't been the same since I started trying to have children.... It's so patronizing to be told how hard it is all the time. I don't go around telling people what a nightmare it is to be infertile." (165) Do you think people with children are patronizing to people without children? Why can't Emma rant about what a nightmare it is to be infertile -- what is different about society's views toward infertility and parenthood? 4. Describe Emma's and her siblings' relationships with their mother. Why are they reticent about telling their mother about major life decisions? In what ways does Emma resemble her mother? 5. At one point, Jess and Emma get into a row about the insensitivity they feel the other has shown her. Who is right in this argument and why? Did it seem like the sore feelings were fully resolved in the end? How are women's arguments different from men's? 6. Were you surprised that Emma does not tell her best friend Lucy about Donal's sexual indiscretion? Would you make the same decision if you were in Emma's place? Would you want to know about Donal's infidelity if you were Lucy? 7. Babs is matter of fact about her one-night stands and other sexual escapades. Emma slept with James the night they met. She also references wild nights she spent with men throughout her twenties. Do the attitudes about casual sex from these Irish women differ from attitudes of typical American women? How are they the same? 8. Throughout the trials of the adoption process, Emma always manages to find the humor in the situation. What did you think were the funniest scenes in the book? How does Emma's sense of humor reveal the absurdity in her own behavior, her relationship with James, and the way people behave in the adoption sessions? 9. In The Baby Trail, Emma endured grueling fertility treatments, including hormone shots, a laparoscopy, and in vitro fertilization. In The Right Fit, she goes through an excruciating adoption process during which every facet of her life is painstakingly scrutinized and dissected. Which process is more difficult for her to endure and why? Which process would be more difficult for you? 10. After years of trying to conceive and more than a year trying to adopt, Emma and James experience a twist of fate at the end of The Right Fit. Was it believable? Why or why not?
Book Club Tips 1. Read both of the Emma and James books and discuss how the characters develop and change as the stories build upon each other. What do you think will happen next with each of the characters? 2. Much of recent women's literature has been made into major motion pictures recently, such as Jennifer Weiner's In Her Shoes and Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones' Diary. If The Right Fit were made into a movie, discuss who should play each of the characters. 3. At one point in The Right Fit, Emma, Lucy, and Jess indulge in a spa day. Start your book club meeting with a trip to the nail salon for a manicure and pedicure for some female bonding like the characters in the novel share. 4. Emma and James are determined to adopt a Russian baby. They study Russian and prepare Russian food for the adoption sessions. To help get in the spirit of Emma and James's efforts, serve a Russian feast of caviar, blintzes, borscht, vodka, and other Russian specialties for your meeting.