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Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

Reproduction is the Flaw of Love: A Novel

1. In the novel's opening scene, Lisa and Miller debate whether he should go to a convenient chain pharmacy or an out-of-the-way mom-and-pop store. Lisa wins. As you read this initial dialogue, what impressions did you gather of their relationship? Did those first impressions prove to be accurate?

2. Reproduction Is the Flaw of Love unfolds through a male protagonist's point of view, though the author is female. What distinctions does the novel portray about the differences between how men and women respond to love and sex? Or does the novel portray more similarities than differences between genders?

3. What did Stan teach Miller about relationships? Does Miller share his father's limitations, or has he overcome them? How was Miller affected by having to cover for his father's dishonesty? Is Miller able to be honest (including with himself)?

4. In your opinion, what was the source of Bay's despondency? Was it a cause or an effect in the end of her marriage? Is his parents' divorce the only reason for Miller's fear of commitment?

5. In what way are Miller's girlfriends different from Bay? Did growing up in her household help or hinder Miller in dealing with women?

6. Lauren Grodstein equips Lisa with crutches throughout many of her scenes. What is the effect of this choice on the part of the author? How does Lisa's injury affect Miller?

7. Discuss the novel's title. Is reproduction the flaw of love? Besides possible pregnancy, what other kinds of reproduction occur in the novel? Does Miller reproduce his parents' marriage?

8. How would you characterize Miller's friendship with Grant? Does Grant give good advice? Was Rachel foolish to break off their engagement?

9. One seemingly minor character is Harry, Miller's dog. Yet the way Miller treats Harry is special. Would this be a predictor of Miller's parenting skills?

10. How might the novel have changed if it had been told from Lisa's point of view? How might she have described Miller and this episode in her life?

11. How did your understanding of Blair shift from her first scene in Bridgehampton to the revelations about her father after she broke up with Miller?

12. Does Miller's experience of love evolve from his early relationship with Debra (the actress) to Blair and then Lisa? What was the basis of his attraction to each of them?

13. Both of Miller's parents used him to some extent, especially when Stan began a relationship with Donna. What does living in the cross fire do to Miller? Does he become someone who uses other people, or someone who is easily used?

14. The novel takes place in a variety of New York City boroughs. In what way does each setting--Queens, Manhattan's Upper East Side, Brooklyn, and eventually Manhattan's Greenwich Village--capture a specific chapter of Miller's life?

15. Discuss the way fatherhood plays out in the novel. What did baseball cards mean to Stan and to Blair's father? How do Blair and Miller cope with losing their fathers?

16. Why do you think Lisa took so much time before administering the pregnancy test? What outcome do you believe she hoped for?

17. Did the ending surprise you? What do you predict for Miller's love life?

Reproduction is the Flaw of Love: A Novel
by Lauren Grodstein

  • Publication Date: June 28, 2005
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Delta
  • ISBN-10: 038533771X
  • ISBN-13: 9780385337717