“Griffin is a budding name in mainstream African American fiction.” —Chicago
After her father’s death, Emily Yancy agrees to move back to her dead-end hometown. But she’s dreading every minute she’ll have to spend in her mother’s tiny apartment. After all, she’s a forty-three-year-old divorcée who’s doing just fine on her own. There are some rewards for dutiful daughters though—like Aaron Merritt, a rich, single doctor with chocolate skin and bedroom eyes…
Aaron is soon taking Emily to fancy restaurants and inviting her to meet his family. But when the lights go out, something’s missing. Enter Teddy Simms, Emily’s eighth-grade crush. Teddy hasn’t achieved what Aaron has—but he’s picked up a few skills in other areas. Will Emily choose a relationship that doesn’t satisfy her mind—or an easy compatibility that doesn’t quite extend into the bedroom? Or is there some way she can find the best of both worlds?
“A compelling drama about three families striving for the American dream.” —Booklist
on If These Walls Could Talk
“Fear and joy practically leap off the pages. A well-written story you will hate to see end.” —RT Book Reviews
on Once Upon a Project
“Griffin expertly explores the universal search for love.”
1. Emily’s siblings felt she was the best candidate to return
to Euliss because she was unmarried. Other families
sometimes burden those judged to be the most
successful with things like paying for family reunions
and funerals. Do you feel this is fair? Why or why not?
2. Emily’s middle name, Louise, came from her paternal
grandmother. What are your feelings about giving a
child an unfashionable name (Elmer, Sylvester, Gertrude,
Mabel, etc.) in honor of a beloved relative?
3. Emily’s disappointment in Aaron’s performance in the
bedroom led her into Teddy’s arms. She felt reluctant
to broach the subject with Aaron, worried that his limited
sexual experience versus her more worldliness was
too sensitive a topic. What would you have done in
4. Do you believe that Beverline would view any woman
Aaron brought home as a potential replacement for her
daughter and express dislike for her?
5. Did you empathize with Beverline’s predicament at all?
6. Emily had been deeply hurt by her ex-husband’s duplicity,
and she divorced him because of it. Yet years
later, she found herself doing the same thing to Aaron,
even though she wasn’t married to him. What are your
feelings about her behavior and her efforts to justify
7. Both Emily and her mother felt that Valerie, who was
twenty-seven when she had her first child, had given
up on finding a husband way too soon in favor of deliberate
single motherhood. What do you think?
8. Marsha did not learn her husband was not a legitimate
businessman until well into their marriage. With
no skills to fall back on, she chose to stay with him
and risk the consequences, and she was left penniless
after he was murdered. How do you think she should
have handled the situation?
9. Teddy told Emily he believed they would make a good
team. She was skeptical of this. Do you feel he was
sincere or, just as Emily felt, looking for someone to
help with his rent increase?
10. Are you, as a reader, content with the hopeful but undefined
note upon which this story ended for the female
characters? Would you like to know more about
Teddy’s and Wayne’s relationships? (You’ll actually
have to e-mail me with the answer to this one. Go to
my website at www.bettyegriffin.com.)