Sarah Mandelbaum Book Club Kit
Thanks so much for choosing The Rise, Fall, and Return of Sarah Mandelbaum for your book club. I couldn’t be more thrilled and honored to share it with you.
The power of close friends and friendships is one of my favorite themes of the book, so I hope you’ll enjoy the time you spend with your buddies bonding over it. And if you all decide to kick back over good food and tasty beverages and catch up with each other instead of discussing the book, I totally get it and am so happy I gave you all an excuse to get together.
Sarah started as a way more talented and fictionalized me (she plays guitar a lot better than I do, for example). So initially, I built her world around fictionalized accounts of some of my more momentous experiences in and out of the world of high fashion magazine publishing, which I inhabited from the early ’90s through the early 2,000s. But soon enough, Sarah took on a life of her own, and she started telling me exactly who she was and what she would do, which began to get further and further away from my own experiences. Her independence from me was further cemented when a woman in one of my writing workshops completely disagreed when I said that Sarah was a version of me. “There’s no way Sarah is you,” she said, as emphatically as I’ve heard anyone say anything. “She’s way cooler.”
Like Sarah, though, I’ve been super fortunate to have wonderful close friendships with some incredible people. Consider Esme and Penny combinations of many of them with some extra sugar and spice thrown in for good measure. This story is fiction, after all!
Like Sarah, I was unpopular in grade-junior high schools and tried desperately to win the approval of the “Queen Bees.” And to be honest with you, I felt the same way in the high fashion industry, though I did meet a lot of amazing people and got to experience a lot of fabulous events and places along the way. The thing is, it was never a good fit for mostly hippie/rocker me, but I kept trying to jam my round self into the square hole of high fashion anyway.
Sarah’s journey back to music versus continually trying to force herself to be a fashionista is a reminder to me—and I hope to you—that being yourself is the only way to go.
I hope you’ll enjoy my suggested questions for discussion and playlist to help get your Sarah Mandelbaum party started. I’d be absolutely thrilled if you would upload a photo of your group to the form on my photo gallery page so I can include it.
I also want to thank you if you decide to tag me in your social media posts, share this book on social media or with friends, or ask for it or for me to do a reading at your local bookstore or library. And I’d so appreciate it if you left me a review on Goodreads. Your liking the book and recommending it means the world to me.
Suggested Sarah Soundtrack (Listen on Spotify)
Music was as crucial to Sarah as oxygen. Here, some of her favorite songs.
- Here Comes the SunThe BeatlesListen Now!
- Dog & ButterflyHeartListen Now!
- Ain’t Wasting Time no MoreThe Allman BrothersListen Now!
- Light up or Leave Me AloneTrafficListen Now!
- Heaven or Las VegasCocteau TwinsListen Now!
- The ChainFleetwood MacListen Now!
- Wiser TimeThe Black CrowesListen Now!
- Chuck-E’s in LoveRickie Lee JonesListen Now!
- Running Up That HillKate BushListen Now!
- Rebel RebelDavid BowieListen Now!
- Dancing BarefootPatti SmithListen Now!
- WouldAlice In ChainsListen Now!
- Back in the SaddleAerosmithListen Now!
- School’s OutAlice CooperListen Now!
- Welcome to the JungleGuns N' RosesListen Now!
- Can’t You Hear Me KnockingRolling StonesListen Now!
Here are some questions you can use to get your book club discussions started.