Photo: Jeffrey Westbrook/Studio D
1. Taking on a foster child is courageous and challenging. Has anyone you've known decided to foster a child? If so, why? Is it something that you would consider doing?
2. Victoria writes in vivid detail of all the places she lived while growing up. Why are memory and sense of place so important to her? What are your earliest memories of where you grew up? Why are those memories important?
3. If you or someone close to you has decided to foster and mentor a child, how has that affected your or their family? How has that new child reacted with your current family, or with the family of the people close to you?
4. Agatha was fond of saying "enough is enough, and too much is foolish." Think back to something that your mother, grandmother, or someone close to you used to say that you've carried with you. What is the phrase? How has it helped you throughout your life?
5. Who, outside of Agatha, do you feel had the greatest impact on Victoria's life, and why? Who in your life has been the greatest inspiration or your greatest mentor?
6. Discuss tradition as it relates to The Women Who Raised Me. Whether it is Agatha's annual cookout, collecting keepsakes from the various women in her life, or her affinity for antiques and vintage items, it is clear that legacy and a sense of tradition are important to Victoria. How have they manifested themselves in your life? What traditions are important to you?
7. There are many instances in the book where Victoria seems to be at rock bottom, whether for lack of money, lack of a place to live, or because of an unclear future. Think back to what you would consider to be your lowest point. How did you overcome it? Who or what inspired you?
8. Though Victoria is in contact with her sisters throughout her life and has a relationship with them, they all travel on a different trajectory than Victoria. Why do you think that is? What do you believe gave Victoria the drive and ambition that she has?
9. Most parents pledge that they will give their children a better life than they had while growing up. How does Victoria make that a reality for her children, and for thousands of other foster children around the world?
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From the May 2010 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine
We Hear You!