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Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

The Mistress's Daughter

1. As part of the process of discovering herself, Homes pursues genealogical research, uncovering her family tree and even having her DNA mapped. To what degree have you ever been interested in discovering your family history? Why does ancestry matter to us?

2. What do you believe is the source of identity—nature or nurture? Use your own experiences growing up to make your argument.

3. Adoption is a popular topic in the news and a current celebrity trend. What are your views? Would you consider adopting a child?

4. What was your reaction to Homes’s birth mother? Her father? Her adoptive parents? Where did your sympathies lie in reading the book?

5. Do you think Homes would have been better off not knowing her birth parents? Explain your answer.

6. How do you define “family”? How did you develop that definition?

7. Had you read any other memoirs before this? If so, which ones and what did you enjoy about them? If not, how did the experience of reading a memoir differ from reading a novel?

8. If you could ask Homes one question, what would it be?

9. People write memoirs for a number of personal reasons but the books usually center on one theme or event. If you were to write a memoir, which theme or event would you focus on? What title would you give your book?

The Mistress's Daughter
by A.M. Homes

  • Publication Date: March 25, 2008
  • Genres: Nonfiction
  • Paperback: 238 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books
  • ISBN-10: 0143113313
  • ISBN-13: 9780143113317