Where We Belong

By Emily Giffin
(St. Martin's Press, Hardcover, 9780312554194, 384pp.)

Publication Date: July 24, 2012

List Price: $27.99*
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The author of five blockbuster novels, Emily Giffin, delivers an unforgettable story of two women, the families that make them who they are, and the longing, loyalty and love that binds them together  Marian Caldwell is a thirty-six year old television producer, living her dream in New York City. With a fulfilling career and satisfying relationship, she has convinced everyone, including herself, that her life is just as she wants it to be. But one night, Marian answers a knock on the door . . . only to find Kirby Rose, an eighteen-year-old girl with a key to a past that Marian thought she had sealed off forever. From the moment Kirby appears on her doorstep, Marian’s perfectly constructed world—and her very identity—will be shaken to its core, resurrecting ghosts and memories of a passionate young love affair that threaten everything that has come to define her. For the precocious and determined Kirby, the encounter will spur a process of discovery that ushers her across the threshold of adulthood, forcing her to re-evaluate her family and future in a wise and bittersweet light. As the two women embark on a journey to find the one thing missing in their lives, each will come to recognize that where we belong is often where we least expect to find ourselves—a place that we may have willed ourselves to forget, but that the heart remembers forever.

About the Author
Emily Giffin is the author of "Something Borrowed", her smash-hit debut novel that was made into a major motion picture. She is also the author of "Something Blue", "Baby Proof", "Love the One You're With", and "Heart of the Matter". Giffin is a graduate of Wake Forest University and the University of Virginia School of Law. After practicing litigation at a Manhattan firm for several years, she moved to London to write full time. She lives in Atlanta with her husband and children.

Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com


  1. Joanna, BTW Club, Cleveland Heights, OH
    1. How might Marian'slife been different if:
      • She told Conrad andhad an abortion?

  2. Jo, StARs Book Group, Staten Island, NY
    1. Kirbyhas a birth family and an adopted family.  There are many types offamilies, whether related biologically or not.  Who do you callfamily?  How do you make the determination to include or exclude someonefrom your family?
    2. Thetitle of the book is Where We Belong.  Where do you belong? How did you decide where you belong?  What makes you feel like youbelong? 
    3. Whatdid you think about Marian’s decision to keep her pregnancy a secret fromConrad?  Was he right to be upset when he found out he was a father 18years after the fact?  Do expectant mothers have an obligation to informthe father?  Why or why not?
    4. Marianmade some difficult choices in her life – to keep her pregnancy a secret fromher father, to break up with Conrad, to give Kirby up for adoption, etc. Thinkabout the difficult choices you have had to make in your life. Did they turnout to be for the best, or did you end up regretting them?
    5. Whatdid you think about the choices Marian’s parents made and the secrets they keptover her pregnancy?  Similarly, what did you think about the reactionsKirby’s parents had over her finding Marian?
    6. Marianchose to give birth.  Do her experiences with that choice make you more orless empathetic to women who make other choices in the same situation? Explain.
    7. Thechoices we make have a ripple effect and ultimately impact all areas of ourlives. How did Marian’s choice to hide her pregnancy affect her relationshipsand future choices?
    8. Kirbyinherited her musical ability from Conrad and his mother. Discuss your thoughtsabout the effects of nature versus nurture on personality.
    9. Conradtells Marian he hates what she did, but he’s trying not to hate her.  Haveyou ever felt that way about someone?  How did you deal with yourfeelings?  How do you go forward when someone you love betrays you?
    10. AfterKirby passes her pre-calculus final, she thinks she might go to college afterall.  She considers the downside and concludes, “What’s the worst thatcould happen?” Then she wonders what would have happened had she allowed thedownside of meeting Marian to stop her.  When have you not allowed thedownside of a challenge to stop you?
    11. DiscussBelinda’s stealing the prom dress.  Why do you think Giffin includes whatseems to be a side topic in the book?
    12. Wheredo you see the relationships among Kirby and her two sets of parents in fiveyears?  What makes you think that?
    13. Giffintold this story by alternating chapters from Marian and Kirby’s points ofview.  Did this style of writing enhance or impede your reading andunderstanding of the story?
    14. Howdoes this book compare to other Emily Giffin books you have read?  What isit about her writing that keeps you coming back?
  3. Terry, Middletown #1 Ladies Book Club, Middletown, RI
    1. Do you see aparallel between Marian's mother and Kirby's adoptive mother?  What aboutthe relationship between Kirby's adoptive father and her biologicalfather?  Is there a connection there?
    2. How is Marian'srelationship with Peter impacted by the addition of Kirby in her life?
    3. How do you viewMarian's decision to give Kirby up for adoption without even telling Conradabout her pregnancy?  Did she have that right?  How might this storyhave been different if Conrad was aware of Marian's pregnancy?
  4. Susan, Friday Morning Book Club, Owings Mills, MD
    1. Why doyou think Marian lied to Conrad about the pregnancy test results? Was the factthat Conrad was not planning to go to college a factor? What do you think wouldhave happened if she had told him the truth?
    2. Do youthink Marian made the right decision when she gave her baby up for adoption?Was she being selfish or selfless?
    3. Why doyou think Marian updated her contact info every year? Although she never evenadmitted it to herself did she hope that her daughter would find her one day?
    4. Why wasMarian so driven? Was she trying to prove to herself that she did the rightthing? Was she burying herself in her work?
    5. WasPeter correct when he accused Marian of never dealing with the fact that shegave her baby away?
    6. Why doyou think that Marian’s father was so much more willing to accept Kirby thanMarian’s mother?
    7. Conradadmits to Kirby that Marian was the love of his life. Was Conrad the love ofMarian’s life?
    8. IfKirby had not come along would Marian and Peter have gotten married? Do youthink it would have lasted?
    9. Wheredo you think “the current” will take Marian?
  5. Jennifer, Ladies Night Book Club, Richmond, VA
    1. What do you think would have happened if Miriamhad told Conrad about the baby when they were eighteen?  Would the result (adoption) been the same?
    2. Do you think that Miriam's mother was right intelling her father about the baby?  Whydo you think that she is so cold to Kirby?
    3. Kirby thinks that she is treated differently orlooked at differently by her adoptive parents in comparison to her sister, whois their natural child....do you think that is truly the case?  If so, why?
    *These are book club generated conversation starters from our ARCs for ARCs programs
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