The Right Thing (Paperback)

By Amy Conner

Kensington Publishing Corporation, 9780758295125, 273pp.

Publication Date: May 27, 2014



On a scorching August day in 1963, seven-year-old Annie Banks meets the girl who will become her best friend. Skinny, outspoken Starr Dukes and her wandering preacher father may not be accepted by polite society in Jackson, Mississippi, but Annie and Starr are too busy sharing secrets and playing elaborate games of Queen for a Day to care. Then, as suddenly as she appeared in Annie's life, Starr disappears.

Annie grows up to follow the path ordained for pretty, well-to-do Jackson women--marrying an ambitious lawyer, filling her days with shopping and charity work. She barely recognizes Starr when they meet twenty-seven years after that first fateful summer, but the bond formed so long ago quickly reemerges. Starr, pregnant by a powerful married man who wants her to get out of town, has nowhere to turn. And Annie, determined not to fail her friend this time, agrees to drive Starr to New Orleans to get money she's owed.

During the eventful road trip that follows, Annie will confront the gap between friendship and responsibility; between her safe, ordered existence and the dreams she's grown accustomed to denying.

Moving, witty, and beautifully told, "The Right Thing "is a story of love and courage, the powerful impact of friendship, and the small acts that can anchor a life--or, with a little luck, steer it in the right direction at last.

"Mix Fannie Flagg, Rebecca Wells, Kathryn Stockett, then add just a dash of Flannery O'Connor, and you'll wind up with the wholly original voice that is Amy Conner's. In this deceptively breezy novel of Southern women and the disaster and triumph of long-term friendships (not to mention racetracks and horses), Ms. Conner has staked a claim to her own Southern turf." --Bret Lott, "New York Times "bestselling author of "Jewel"

"This riveting debut novel shows how true friendship can span a social gulf and endure even across a chasm of time. "The Right Thing "is a page-turner that gripped me from the beginning." --Anna Jean Mayhew, author of "The Dry Grass of August"

"Before you read this book, make some coffee, grab the chocolate, sit down in front of the fire, and don't plan on getting up for a long, lovely time." --Cathy Lamb, author of "If You Could See What I See"
"Amy Connor has combined all of the right elements to make "The Right Thing "a fantastic read. She's written a touching story about a woman's search for herself and the endurance of a childhood friendship, outlined it in humor, and delivered it with beautiful prose. A wonderful debut " -- Mary Simses, author of "The Irresistible Blueberry Bake Shop & Cafe"
"Told with natural Southern lyricism, and full of surprises both quirky and heartfelt, "The Right Thing " is a compassionate reminder about how every choice at every fork in the road has the power to change the rest of our lives-- sometimes far better than we ever could have imagined." -- Kaya McLaren, author of "How I Came to Sparkle Again.

About the Author

Amy Conner is a semi-retired horse trainer, and she used to co-own and co-manage the world's largest alligator farming concern. She lives in New Orleans, but grew up in Jackson, so she knows whereof she speaks. The Right Thing is her first novel.

Conversation Starters from

  1. Annie is rich, thin, beautiful, and spoiled as a child. Do you find her a sympathetic character? Why or why not?
  2. As the story unfolds, do you find parallels between the 1960s and 1970s chapters and the present action in 1990?
  3. Responsibility and doing the right thing are dominant themes in the novel. In your opinion, which character best embodies these characteristics?
  4. Another theme is the intense relationships shared by small children. Why do you think Annie and Starr’s childhood bond survives into their adulthood even though they haven’t seen each other in decades?
  5. Is this book, in a sense, a coming-of-age novel? If so, when do you see Annie growing up at last after a lifetime of acting like a child?
  6. Why do you think Annie stays married to Du for so long, especially since it’s obvious that she feels unhappy and stifled in her marriage? Does this give you insight into her character?
  7. Do you think The Right Thing accurately depicts two different eras—attitudes, prejudices, political realities, etc.— in the American South?