Likes to Smile Book Club – You Knew Me When

I loved You Knew Me When so much that I devoured it in two days. And then I sat and “patiently” (or impatiently as the case may be) waited for discussion day to arrive. Good news! Finally, today is the day! Hip, hip, hooray!

likes-to-smile-book-club-you-knew-me-when

Here’s how it works: I’ll pose questions here and then answer them below. You can add your answers to the comments and then we will discuss from there. Grab a coffee. Let’s get to chatting.

And here’s the part where I say: SPOILER ALERT! We’re going to divulge and discuss all the greatness that is this book, so if you haven’t read it yet… perhaps you want to wait to keep reading.

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION:
1) In very Likes to Smile Book Club fashion, let’s cast the movie roles. Who should play Katherine, Laney and Luella?
2) What did you think of the transformation of Kitty to Katherine?
3) Who did you like more: Katherine or Laney?
4) What was your favorite scene involving Luella?
5) Luella went to great lengths to get old friends in the same house. How true to life did you find Laney and Katherine’s friendship as they grew from eleven year olds to thirty-four year olds?
6) What was your favorite Kitty/Katherine and Grant moment?
7) What was your favorite part?
8) What didn’t I ask that you would like to also discuss?

LET’S DISCUSS:

1) CASTING: I hereby cast: Meryl Streep as Luella, Kim Raver as Katherine and Julie Bowen as Laney. I also cast Scott Foley as Grant, just for good measure.

2) TRANSFORMATION OF KITTY TO KATHERINE: I loved it. Every single part. I grew up in Akron, Ohio and moved to New York City after college. I quickly found myself very enveloped by New York’s culture (the things to learn, see, do, eat) and I found myself rapidly evolving. I also believe almost every twenty-something freshly out of college rapidly evolves, as we get our first jobs and first living spaces, etc. I think that job, location, living spaces, experiences and the like, quickly shape a person. I could easily empathize with how a small town girl could quickly transform into having a big city life. Now, if only I were running a cosmetics company…

I loved Emily Liebert’s take on how she crafted a story of a girl who always questioned the extent to which she fit in in high school becoming the one to spread her wings in a big city and find some grounding (or at least some career power). This shed so much light on the portrayal of how she wasn’t quite sure where she fit in when she went home and found herself crawling out of her skin. This discomfort and awkwardness of being somewhere that no longer feels like home leapt off the page. Really remarkably well written.

3) KATHERINE OR LANEY? Katherine. I’m more like her, so I think I liked her more for that reason.

4) FAVORITE LUELLA SCENE: When Luella and Kitty were talking about her first kiss with Grant.

5) FRIENDSHIP TRANSFORMATION TRUE TO LIFE: Very much so. I especially liked the part where Katherine felt like she had tried because she called and Laney wouldn’t take her call, whereas Laney felt like she hadn’t tried hard enough. How many times in our own lives have we seen these miscommunications because we each assume if the “other cared enough” their behavior would somehow be different?

6) FAVORITE KATHERINE AND GRANT MOMENT? When Grant said that he understood why Katherine fled to New York, because Luella had come to explain it to him. Admittedly, that made me love Luella even more.

The intial necklace comes in a close second place. Cuteness to the max!

7) FAVORITE PART: When Katherine and Laney try on Luella’s ball gowns and you just know they are going to mend fences. But seriously…how could they not keep more of the jewels?

I also loved that despite the multitude of relationships that Katherine was attempting to mend (the distance between herself and her father; her leaving Grant; her relationship with the Drake family as a whole; her friendship with Laney), the main focus on the book was on the friendship. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that the friends that have known me since I was an adolescent are some of my best because they understand how I’ve grown up. I loved the focus on how that friendship evolved and then came to the start of a mending process. Friendship as the main relationship was an exquisite choice.

8) YOUR TURN: What part of the book are you most wanting to discuss? Let me know in the comments and we can all reply to one another’s questions there!

I’ll be back tomorrow with an interview with the author, Emily Liebert! And let me tell you… you are going to LOVE IT!

A humongous thank you to all of you for reading along. That people participate in Likes to Smile Book Club never ceases to make my week or warm my heart. I love you all for it!

Until next time!

xoxo,
Stacey

Postscript: Want to catch up on prior discussions? Would love it! We have discussed three other books:
1) Revenge Wears Prada
2) Someday, Someday, Maybe
3) Reconstructing Amelia

Comments

  1. Woo Hoo book club!!

    My thoughts:

    1) Lauren Graham as Laney, Juliana Marguiles as katherine, and Christine Baranski as Luella. I think I have been watching too much goodwife…
    2) I could see how it would happen, but it seemed like a very lonely life.
    3) I could related to parts of both. I liked Katherine’s work ethic and I liked Laney’s strong sense of family.
    4) Her sending Katherine off to NYU! It felt very motherly. And that she would call to check on Kitty, too.
    5) I loved that they were able to mend their friendship in some way. The friends you relied on when you were young are always important. It is best to hang on as tightly as you can.
    6) When they admitted to each other that they were still interested even though so much time had passed.
    7)When Katherine picked up Laney’s daughter from school. That was the moment I knew I was going to love the ending.
    8) What is the next Likes to Smile book club pick?!

    • Jammers!! Thanks so much for reading!! I, too, love the Good Wife!

      And I think Katherine also had a very lonely life in NYC!

      And the next Likes to Smile book club book is Dollface by Renee Rosen!

      I love that you played along! It warms my heart so! thank you so much! xoxo

  2. Thanks for the recommendation! Always looking for new books.

  3. 1. Jennifer Garner as Laney and Alexis Bledel as Katherine. I second your choice for Meryl Streep as Luella and Scott Foley as Grant!
    2. I liked it. I loved how this girl, who never seemed too sure of herself, finally got the opportunity to spread her wings and gain confidence. And even though she gained power, she never had that “I’m better than you” attitude. I think that might have been a bit unbelievable had that happened. Overall, I feel like she stayed pretty true to herself.
    3. Katherine. Laney was likable, but I didn’t like her holding onto that grudge for so long. She could have been hurt that Katherine left, but she shouldn’t have blamed her for it. Katherine really tried to mend the relationship, which I give her props for.
    4. I loved the scene when Luella talked Katherine into applying to NYU. You could see how much of a mother figure Luella had become in Katherine’s life.
    5. I thought their friendship was very true to life. When you’re young, it’s so easy to hold a grudge and years later to still have those feelings, even if the reasoning behind it is stupid. The fact that they held onto those feelings for so long, showed that they still cared for each other.
    6. The ending! I loved when they admitted that they still loved each other. I’m such a sucker for a happy ending like that!
    7. When Katherine bought the house! When she said she had to leave and that she’d be back, I knew what she was going to do.
    8. Was I the only one who at first thought the wedding at the end was going to be Grant and Katherine’s? Also, why did Luella decide to reunite the two girls via her will? She was so bright and caring, I’m surprised she didn’t devise some sort of plan while she was alive. It was clear that both girls adored her, so it might not have been too hard. But then again, the whole book would be different if that were the case.

    • Hi Allyssa!

      Yes! Jennifer Garner and Alexis Bledel would be perfect!! I agree!!

      I’m with you entirely, I loved the transformation of Kitty to Katherine! It seemed so true to life.

      And yes! I loved that scene, too. As a reader, you felt like Katherine still had a mother, even if not a biological one.

      I think what I liked most about that grudge was that it was so true to life. That you could see it happening that way even if when you read it as an adult you want to be like, “no. don’t let that happen. forgive each other.” It was just so true to what it was like to be nineteen or even twenty-two.

      Yes! The buying of the house. Wasn’t that so wonderful?

      It’s so funny, I think I thought the wedding at the end was going to be Katherine and Grant’s too, but then I was so glad when it wasn’t. It would have seemed too easy and too fairy tale like, I think. I loved that it was for Katherine’s Dad.

      Now that you mention it… it didn’t dawn on me that Luella could have created a plan like that while she was still alive. I was so caught up in the story by that point that it seemed to make complete sense that it happened in the will. I was actually really saddened to hear that after all that mothering, that Katherine had gotten so caught up in life that she didn’t notice she hadn’t spoken to Luella in awhile. But…I still found it believable that she wouldn’t have spoken to Luella. It was just sad. You’re right, the whole book would have been different… I wonder what that plot would have looked like? (I hope you can follow this tangent of mine).

      Thanks so much for reading along!

      xoxo,
      Stacey

  4. Hi Stacey! I’m working on the book now, I’m really enjoying it! I hope I can be back this weekend to participate in the discussion.

  5. Haha, I had to laugh so hard when I read that you would like to have Scott Foley as Grant :-) You are a super fan of Scott Foley!!

    QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION:
    1) In very Likes to Smile Book Club fashion, let’s cast the movie roles. Who should play Katherine, Laney and Luella?
    Lauren Graham as Katherine… And yeah, I could see Scott Foley as Grant.. Laney.. I’m not sure yet!

    2) What did you think of the transformation of Kitty to Katherine?
    I loved it. From boyish not too sure girl to women in NY!

    3) Who did you like more: Katherine or Laney?
    Katherine, definitely! :-)

    4) What was your favorite scene involving Luella?
    Her trying to pursued Katherine to go to NYU.

    5) Luella went to great lengths to get old friends in the same house. How true to life did you find Laney and Katherine’s friendship as they grew from eleven year olds to thirty-four year olds?
    I think I would never let anything like that happen. I would’ve called more after the incident, even when it was sort of my fault. But I can understand that this happens in life. Definitely at that age.

    6) What was your favorite Kitty/Katherine and Grant moment?
    Hmmm… Grant showing up at the house of Luella when Kitty and Katherine were there.. Totally unexpected.

    7) What was your favorite part?
    Katherine’s moment with Grant on the porch (or outside) of Grant’s mothers house. During christmas..

    8) What didn’t I ask that you would like to also discuss?
    I think I have to read a book just before we are going to discuss because, same as you, I finished it in a few days but this was about a month ago :-) I really loved the book and I do hope so that Emily will write another book soon!

    • Hi hi!! Obviously I’m a super fan of Scott Foley!

      Love Lauren Graham as Katherine!

      YESSSSSSSSS!!! Grant showing up at the house when Laney and Katherine were there!! That should have been my favorite pick, too! What was I thinking?!! Such a good moment.

      You know…I’m struggling with how much time to leave between when I announce the book club book and the day Ihave the discussion. It feels like there should be a magic number there, but I haven’t figured it out, yet. What do you think?

      Thanks so much for reading. Book club is one of my favorite things! Obviously!

      xoxo
      Stacey

      • Yeah, I think maybe we all need about 3 weeks max. to read a book? I mean, as soon as you know that a new book club is coming, you try to finish all your other readings so you are ready for the book you pick. I guess that most of us need 3 weeks max? I can do it in 2 days 😉 but that is not fair of course!
        What do you think? xx

  6. Sorry I’m late to the game…what else is new! But, I did finish the book and I really enjoyed it!

    1) In very Likes to Smile Book Club fashion, let’s cast the movie roles. Who should play Katherine, Laney and Luella?
    I’m not the best at casting movies, but here I go! Katherine – Emily Blunt, Laney- Kate Hudson and Luella- Helen Mirren (or Meryl Streep)

    2) What did you think of the transformation of Kitty to Katherine?
    I was surprised at how desensitized Katherine became. She seemed so caring a child, but lost her innocence when she moved to NYC. Going home again helped her soften.

    3) Who did you like more: Katherine or Laney?
    I flip flopped. I felt bad for Laney, but sometimes I thought she was being over dramatic. Katherine wanted to be her friend again and Laney needed to let her in.

    4) What was your favorite scene involving Luella?
    I loved hearing about all of the parties she threw and the beautiful clothes she wore.

    5) Luella went to great lengths to get old friends in the same house. How true to life did you find Laney and Katherine’s friendship as they grew from eleven year olds to thirty-four year olds?
    It feels pretty true to life. If you leave somewhere for 11 years, you can expect it all to be the same. You also can’t expect the person who left to be the same.

    6) What was your favorite Kitty/Katherine and Grant moment?
    I loved when Grant planned a picnic and decided they should be together. So sweet.

    7) What was your favorite part?
    I loved that Katherine picked Laney’s daughter up from school. It was a major turning point for Katherine.

    Thanks for hosting!

    • Hi Katie!!

      An apology is never necessary for being late to the game!! I’m just so beyond thrilled that you joined us for Book Club!!

      I love Emily Blunt, Kate Hudson and Helen Mirren for the cast! Who says you’re not good! 😉

      I also loved hearing about Luella. She was so fascinating, right? Like an entire novel could be written about her life itself.

      I agree, too, I loved when Katherine picked Laney’s daughter up from school. It was so charitable and showed love. And I agree, it was a turning point.

      Hope you’re having a great weekend!

      xoxo,
      Stacey