BELONG TO ME

Marisa de los Santos

Cornelia Brown surprised herself when she was gripped by the sudden, inescapable desire to move to the suburbs with her husband. Her mettle is quickly tested by her impeccably dressed, overly judgmental neighbor Piper Truitt—the embodiment of everything Cornelia feared she’d find in suburbia. With Lake, another recent arrival, Cornelia shares a love of literature and old movies—as she forms an instant bond with this warm yet elusive woman and her perceptive, brilliant young son Dev.

Acclaimed bestselling author Marisa de los Santos’s literary talents shine in the complex interactions she creates between three unforgettable women, deftly entangling her characters in a web of trust,

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Cornelia Brown surprised herself when she was gripped by the sudden, inescapable desire to move to the suburbs with her husband. Her mettle is quickly tested by her impeccably dressed, overly judgmental neighbor Piper Truitt—the embodiment of everything Cornelia feared she’d find in suburbia. With Lake, another recent arrival, Cornelia shares a love of literature and old movies—as she forms an instant bond with this warm yet elusive woman and her perceptive, brilliant young son Dev.

Acclaimed bestselling author Marisa de los Santos’s literary talents shine in the complex interactions she creates between three unforgettable women, deftly entangling her characters in a web of trust, betrayal, love, and loss that challenges them in ways they never imagined.

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  • Harper Paperbacks
  • Paperback
  • March 2009
  • 416 Pages
  • 9780061240287

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About Marisa de los Santos

An award-winning poet and bestselling author with a Ph.D. in literature and creative writing, Marisa de los Santos lives in Wilmington, Delaware, with her husband and children. She’s the author of the bestseller Love Walked In.

Praise

” . . . family dynamics collide and reconfigure in a variety of ways that readers will find fascinating. De los Santos keeps us totally engaged with these fragile creatures, who get under our skin and, ultimately, into our hearts. Highly recommended.” — Library Journal

“The novel reveals layers of rich patina—the story underneath is more complex, engaging, and surprisingly moving…de los Santos delivers an interconnected network of compelling little stories. Her writing is both vividly descriptive and surprisingly insightful.” —Boston Globe

Discussion Questions

Each character faces a different challenge: what are these challenges and how do they handle them? Who has changed the most by the end of the novel?

When we meet Cornelia’s neighbor, Piper, she is commenting on Cornelia’s lawn and home, suggesting changes. Does she have a right to criticize Piper’s lawn and home? How did this make you feel? What does it mean to be a good neighbor?

Piper confesses that she finds security through organizing, but when her best friend, Elizabeth becomes ill, this surprise rattles her carefully organized world. What does safety mean? What rituals, if any, do you have to create a feeling of safety?

What is Dev’s relationship with his mother like? Do you think mothers and sons have a different relationship than mothers and daughters or fathers and sons? Why or why not? What do Dev and Lake learn from each other?

Part of the way into the story Dev embarks on a quest to find his father? What issues does he face? If you were Dev would you look for your father? Why or why not?

Near the end of the novel Lake says that everything she’s done has been for Dev. Is this acceptable? Is it ok to lie to protect the people you love?

Do you think Clare’s and Dev’s relationship is an accurate depiction of first love? How does their relationship differ from the other romantic relationships in the novel? What do you think will happen between them in the future?

How would you describe Cornelia’s childbirth experience? How does it lead her to make a decision that would change the lives of the people in her life?

What does “family” mean and how is this explored in the novel? Is it possible for one person to belong to another?

Cornelia compares life to the movies. What if any movie does the novel remind you of? Is there a movie(s) that you could compare to your life?