Discussion Guide: Conversations with Friends

1. Bobbi tells Frances that she doesn’t “have a ‘real personality,’” but she insisted it was a compliment. What do you think Bobbi meant by this?

2. How did your perceptions of Frances and Bobbi as individuals change, if they changed at all? Do you sense their self-perceptions—or egos—changed as well?

3. Were you surprised by Frances’s attraction to Nick? In what ways did their affair and attractions meet or subvert your expectations?

4. Melissa suggests that Frances’ relationship with her own father affects how she views her relationship with Nick. In what ways do the characters’ parents shape their views on love?

5. Frances claims to be “anti-love,” and she and Bobbi compare love to a “social value system.” Do you think their actions reflect this belief?

6. Towards the end of the novel, Frances decides to publish a story that Bobbi feels exploits their friendship. Do you agree or disagree with Frances’s decision? How could she have communicated about this with Bobbi?

7. Why do you think the author chose to omit quotation marks in dialogue? How did the different forms of communications (i.e. text, instant message, email) used throughout impact the characters’ impressions of one another and their actions? Do you think the relationship between Frances and Nick would have evolved differently without technology?

8. Consider Frances’ professed “disinterest in wealth,” Bobbi’s frequent assertion that Frances is a communist, and the other discussions surrounding employment, money, and economic systems throughout the book. What role do these ideas play in the novel? How do you think Frances’s beliefs about work and money inform her relationships?

9. The relationship between Frances and Bobbi evolves throughout the novel. How does their power dynamic shift, and what factors affect it? Where do you see their relationship heading?

10. Frances struggles with endometriosis and self-harm throughout the novel. How would you characterize her relationship with her body? In what ways does this affect her relationships with those around her?

11. The novel ends on an ambiguous note. Were you surprised by the last lines? What do you think will happen with Frances and Nick’s relationship?