The Most Like­ly Club

By – October 2, 2022

In her fifth book, The Most Like­ly Club, Elyssa Fried­land show­cas­es the highs and lows of being a woman in her for­ties. When Melis­sa, Priya, Tara, and Suki grad­u­at­ed from high school, they all had high hopes for the future. Now, as their twen­ty-fifth high school reunion is upon them, not one is where she wished to be in life. Hit with the nos­tal­gia of 1997 and their high school superla­tives, the women decide to course-cor­rect their lives and take on new chal­lenges in an attempt to ful­fill their teenage goals.

Friedland’s lat­est nov­el is an homage to female friend­ships — the ones often tak­en for grant­ed but most need­ed dur­ing tough times. The ban­ter amongst these friends will make you want to text the best friend you haven’t spo­ken to in weeks, just to remind them that you’re think­ing of them. While all of the women bring diverse back­grounds and iden­ti­ties (includ­ing Melissa’s Jew­ish her­itage), they all reach a com­mon con­sen­sus: being a woman is hard. It’s easy to catch glimpses of one­self in any of them.

At the core of the nov­el, read­ers will dis­cov­er a way of redefin­ing what it means for a woman to have it all in today’s world. Fried­land does an excel­lent job of por­tray­ing each character’s jour­ney toward self-kind­ness as she pur­sues sec­ond chances in love, work, and moth­er­hood. The Most Like­ly Club will with­out a doubt make read­ers of all ages feel a range of emo­tions, but Fried­land infus­es so much humor that the book is a con­stant source of joy.

Eliz­a­beth Slot­nick works in the tech­nol­o­gy space but has a grow­ing pres­ence on book­sta­gram, where she reviews books span­ning across all gen­res. She grad­u­at­ed from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Vir­ginia and lives in Seat­tle, WA.

Discussion Questions

Cour­tesy of Elyssa Friedland 

<p>1. If you had a high school superla­tive, do you remem­ber what it was? Or what do you think it would have been?
<p>2. How have your dreams and goals evolved since you were a teenager?
<p>3. Which one of the four women in <em>The Most Like­ly Club </em>did you iden­ti­fy with the most, and why? Who did you relate to the least? Did any of the char­ac­ters remind you of friends in your own life? 
<p>4. The women all strug­gle with the idea of hav­ing it all.” What does <em>having it all </em>mean to you? The entre­pre­neur Ran­di Zucker­berg wrote a book called <em>Pick Three: You Can Have It All (Just Not Every Day) </em>where she encour­ages women to pick three things to focus on each day among work, sleep, fam­i­ly, fit­ness and friends. What would be your top three (not lim­it­ed to the above choices)? 
<p>5. Priya and Melis­sa, the two moth­ers in the group, try to pre­vent their chil­dren from mak­ing the same mis­takes and avoid­ing the same lows they expe­ri­enced in high school, but it’s not easy. Why do you think it’s so hard to help your chil­dren avoid some of the pit­falls you expe­ri­enced in your own life?
<p>6. Can you name one way that each of the women in the group have changed since high school? In what ways have they stayed the same?
<p>7. Suki faces unique dif­fi­cul­ties as a female CEO. What do you think is at the root of why pow­er­ful women face a dou­ble stan­dard in our soci­ety when they act like strong leaders?
<p>8. The pri­ma­ry issue in Priya and Dev’s mar­riage is divi­sion of labor, a com­mon issue between many cou­ples, par­tic­u­lar­ly in house­holds with two work­ing par­ents. Dev promis­es to change and con­tribute more. Do you think he will hold up his end of the bar­gain? Explain why or why not.
<p>9. Melissa’s weight is a con­tin­u­ing source of con­cern to her, even as the cul­ture around her has made strides towards embrac­ing body pos­i­tiv­i­ty. Why do you think she is hung up on want­i­ng to be thin? Should she have wor­ried more about how her behav­ior could affect her daughter? 
<p>10. Nathan is bru­tal­ly hon­est with Melis­sa about why he gave the dona­tion to Bell­port. Have you ever made a choice in your life that was clear­ly influ­enced by some­thing that hap­pened to you in high school?
<p>11. Do you think high school superla­tives are a good idea? Do you think stu­dents should choose their own superlatives?
<p>12. What do you wish you could tell your teenage self today? How would your adult advice have sound­ed to you back when you were in high school?
<p>13. Dis­cuss the friend­ship between the four women. How does their bond help them through dif­fi­cult times? Do you agree with the say­ing Make new friends, but keep the old. One is sil­ver and the oth­er is gold”?