Book Club Guide

  1. Better Luck Next Time unfolds over one calendar year, month by month. What is revealed about each character’s evolution by telling the story this way?
  2. There are three main points of view in the novel: Beata, Mariana, and Zoe. How sympathetic are you to each of these women? Were there moments in the novel when a shift in perspective revealed something unexpected for you about the dynamics in the Goldstein-Hennessey family?
  3. A number of characters in Better Luck Next Time are attempting to move forward after life-altering events: Beata, Mariana, Nina, Will, Zack, and Zoe. What choices do they make to cope with the monumental changes they face? What do their strategies reveal about each character’s personality, values, or priorities?
  4. Have you ever had to reinvent yourself? What did you learn from that experience? How did it inform your reaction to the characters in Better Luck Next Time?
  5. Zack says: “Everyone’s an addict.” Do you agree with him? What do you think he means?
  6. There are many marriage relationships described in the novel. Are there generational differences that explain why some relationships succeed where others fail?
  7. Consider the story arcs for each of Beata, Mariana, and Zoe. Where does each woman start at the beginning of the book, and where does she end up? What does each of them learn in the process?
  8. What does feminism mean to you? How has your relationship with feminism changed over the course of your life? Choose a scene in the book where female characters approach the same situation in different ways. Discuss how each person’s perspective is or is not ‘feminist’.
  9. How do you feel about Lydia? Does her revelation about Beata’s pregnancy make you more or less sympathetic to her?
  10. Is Lydia a good mother? Why or why not? And if not, do you think we hold male leaders to the same standard? Do we expect them to be able to change the world and be good parents as well?