Someone Will Be with You Shortly by Lisa Kogan
Photo: Ben Goldstein/Studio D
1. Lisa's partner and the father of her daughter lives across the world and only gets to visit every two or three months. Do you think you could live that way? With the rate of divorce, might this be a blessing in disguise?

2. In Lisa's list of what women want, she mentions equal pay, compassionate lighting, and a lot of foreplay. What would you add?

3. "Sometimes I think being middle-aged isn't about learning a lot of new lessons so much as learning the same old ones again and again." What are the lessons you're still trying to master?

4. In Chapter 7, Lisa starts off by writing, "The love of my life is seeing other women." And later says, "The truth is this: My daughter would follow Miranda Dedushi and Lidra Basha, her two babysitters, to the ends of the earth..." The anxiety mothers feel when leaving their children with the nanny is an age-old issue, one Lisa obviously struggles with. Do you have any thoughts of your own?

5. What do you think about Lisa's "Everything I Know about the World and How You (Yes, You!) Should Live Your Life?" Do you agree with her list? Is there anything you feel should or shouldn't be on it?

6. In Chapter 14, Lisa tells us about the first bad thing she ever did. She writes about the revelation that the world did not come crashing down, but that incident is when she also realized "the deeply unsettling truth that I am really quite capable of hurting the people I love; that, given the right set of circumstances, we all are." Have you come to a similar realization? What was the first bad thing you ever did?

7. Think about Lisa's parenting observations. Are her experiences universal? How does she represent every mother, and how is her story unique?

8. In Chapter 16, entitled "Kogan's Heroes", Lisa lists men she could "fall hard for," including her obstetricians and the CEO of Costco, and "examples of the best and the brightest females," including Chelsea Clinton, Loretta Lynn, and her oldest friend. Who would be on your lists? Who are your heroes?

9. Massive Insecurity is what Lisa describes as a crippling condition that plagues almost everyone she knows. She asks, "What started this epidemic of insecurity?" What do you think? Is not always recognizing "our own worth" simply part of the human condition?

10. "Regrets?" Lisa writes. "I've had a few, and I'll be more than happy to mention every last one of them if they'll fill a few pages." She then talks about everything from a bad perm in 1976 to never thanking her dad for his perfectly-timed career advice to eating too little (and then eating too much) lasagna. Major or minor, what are some of your regrets?

11. What are the messages that emerge from Lisa's essays?

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