Little Earthquakes: A Novel by Jennifer WeinerLittle Earthquakes: A Novel by Jennifer Weiner

Little Earthquakes: A Novel

byJennifer Weiner

Paperback | June 28, 2005

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about

Jennifer Weiner's richest, wittiest, most true-to-life novel yet tells the story of three very different women as they navigate one of life's most wonderful and perilous transitions: the journay of new motherhood.

Becky is a plump, sexy chef who has a wonderfull husband and baby girl, a restaurant that received a citywide acclaim -- and the mother-in-law from hell. Kelly is an event planner who's struggling to balance her work and motherhood while dealing with unemployed husband who seems content to channel-surf for eight hours a day. Ayinde's basketball superstar husband breaks her trust at her most vulnerable moment, putting their new family even more in the public eye. Then, there's Lia, a Philadelphia native who has left her Hollywood career behind, along with her husband, and a tragic secret to start her life all over again.

From prenatal yoga to postbirth sex, Little Earthquakes is a frank, funny, fiercely perceptive take on the comedies and tragedies of love and marriage.
Jennifer Weiner grew up in Simsbury, Connecticut. She attended Princeton University, where she studied with John McPhee, Toni Morrison & Joyce Carol Oates. She is currently a reporter/columnist at the "Philadelphia Inquirer"& a contributing editor at "Mademoiselle". Her short stories have been published in "Seventeen"&"Redbook". Her fr...
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Title:Little Earthquakes: A NovelFormat:PaperbackDimensions:448 pages, 8.25 × 5.31 × 1.1 inPublished:June 28, 2005Publisher:Washington Square PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0743470109

ISBN - 13:9780743470100

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love! Excellent story about a group of new moms.
Date published: 2017-01-08
Rated 3 out of 5 by from It was about a number of different women expecting and one who lost a child, I found all the women very different from one another going through changes and family crisis and how they supported each other to overcome their diversities.
Date published: 2014-07-09
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Little Earthquakes It was about a number of different women expecting and one who lost a child, I found all the women very different from one another going through changes and family crisis and how they supported each other to overcome their diversities
Date published: 2014-07-08
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Frustrating! Why were chapters continuously repeated through the whole book?? Frustrating to have to go back after each section and scroll down the content list to get to next NEW section!
Date published: 2013-02-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great book A very realistic view into motherhood from many different perspectives
Date published: 2013-01-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A heart warming book of friendship, love & life's unforeseen accidents..... This book was given to me a long while ago & I hadn't read it for quite sometime as I had been reading a series. I am so glad a few days ago I picked it up & gave it a shot. It is a heartwarming story about how a few of life's unforeseen issues can bring you, your loved ones & friends much closer. I enjoyed the separation of character chapters which was a first for me, however was a little disappointed with the ending chapter. I am looking forward to reading more from this author, which would make the next one my fourth from this author all of which I would recommend.
Date published: 2011-12-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from LOVED this book THis book is very touching, you cannot help falling in love with the characters!!! Every character has a fantastic story that draws you into their world. Jennifer Weiner has ANOTHER winner on her hands.
Date published: 2010-04-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Realistic....sometimes too real!! Jennifer did a fantastic job, hitting the nail on the head as a describing the roles of a new mother, being in a marriage and the friendships around you. I loved this book. I giggled to myself while reading and occassionally had to wipe tears too...which rarely happens for me. I thoroughly enjoyed this book...on to the next Jennifer Weiner book.
Date published: 2010-01-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A must read I loved this book as well as most of her others. I loved the trials and hardships of each character and how they banded together to continue their friendships no matter what. Recommend this to all moms, no matter how old the kids or grand-kids are .
Date published: 2008-01-15
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Ok book about new mothers A friend passed me this book thinking I would really like it since I'm a new mom. The 4 stories were ok, I never felt that close to the characters and didn't really have an urgency to know what would happen next. An ok book but definetly skipable!
Date published: 2008-01-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from AB FAB! This was an absolutely fabulous read. I flew threw it, and read it every spare second I had. As a mum of 2 young kids trying to balance career and family, this rang so true and helped me believe that I was not alone! You are able to relate to all of the characters on some level and the writing is so real that while reading the touching moments, I was crying in public.
Date published: 2007-02-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic Read! I absolutely loved this book. It is the first book in awhile that I enjoyed all of the characters and was interested in each of their stories. Weiner does an amazing job making the readers relate to the characters. It is a heartwarming story that makes you laugh and cry. It was the first book that I have read of Jennifer Weiner and I can't wait to read the rest of them.
Date published: 2006-08-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing, Heartwarming, Fantastic! This book was so amazing that I couldn't put it down. I literally read it in 2 days! Jennifer Weiner really knows how to write a novel that is aimed at her readers, really down to earth and sensible. I felt that I knew the characters intimately...all their happiness and heartaches, I truly felt. I'm very excited about reading further novels by Jennifer Weiner, this book was so amazing that the other novels will have a lot to live up to, however I have little doubt that they will surpass my expectations. A MUST READ novel for any girl...you'll pass it on to your girlfriends.
Date published: 2006-07-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Hilarious! No matter how many times I read this book, I just can't get enough of it. As a new mother myself, I just love the way in which Jennifer Weiner portrays each mother and the hardships they have to face. A must read of any mother, new or old!
Date published: 2006-06-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Brilliantly Written This book was very good. I'm not a mother, but I loved it. It's about 4 totally different Woman with only one thing in common, having babies, or wanting one. It's about relationships, motherhood, and the funny little things that happen in life. Also the drama that happens in life too. It's about being a working mother, balancing motherhood and careers. Jennifer Weiner is an excellent Author, and I have loved all of her books. Little Earthquakes is my favorite though. You just fall in love with the characters and can't wait to find out what happens to them all. If they are good mothers, what their husbands/boyfriends think about being fathers, ect.... I would definetely reccomend this book to all of my friends.
Date published: 2006-06-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing I would have to say out of all of Jennifer Weiner's books, this is my fav. I loved this story and where it takes you in the lives of these women...they come to life. I absolutely loved it, and if you love chick lit you will love it too. Even if you aren't a huge chick lit fan and like a dramatic story you will love this novel. Not your typical chick lit.
Date published: 2006-05-31
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Another good read Having been totally consumed this summer with chick literature, I have to admit that some are really good and some are real duds. This is not a dud. I quite enjoyed this book and found it to be both engaging and moving. Not typical chick lit fare - more of a story and coming together of four women from very different backgrounds because of their pregnancies and new born children. I'm not a mom myself so don't relate to that part of the story - but the relationships are really good, and Weiner does a great job of developing the characters. Worth the read. Another really good book is Enchanted Inc.
Date published: 2005-07-27

Read from the Book

Chapter One: LiaI watched her for three days, sitting by myself in the park underneath an elm tree, beside an empty fountain with a series of uneaten sandwiches in my lap and my purse at my side.Purse. It's not a purse, really. Before, I had purses -- a fake Prada bag, a real Chanel baguette Sam had bought me for my birthday. What I have now is a gigantic, pink, floral-printed Vera Bradley bag big enough to hold a human head. If this bag were a person, it would be somebody's dowdy, gray-haired great-aunt, smelling of mothballs and butterscotch candies and insisting on pinching your cheeks. It's horrific. But nobody notices it any more than they notice me.Once upon a time, I might have taken steps to assure that I'd be invisible: a pulled-down baseball cap or a hooded sweatshirt to help me dodge the questions that always began Hey, aren't you? and always ended with a name that wasn't mine. No, wait, don't tell me. Didn't I see you in something? Don't I know who you are?Now, nobody stares, and nobody asks, and nobody spares me so much as a second glance. I might as well be a piece of furniture. Last week a squirrel ran over my foot.But that's okay. That's good. I'm not here to be seen; I'm here to watch. Usually it's three o'clock or so when she shows up. I set aside my sandwich and hold the bag tightly against me like a pillow or a pet, and I stare. At first I couldn't really tell anything, but yesterday she stopped halfway past my fountain and stretched with her hands pressing the small of her back. I did that, I thought, feeling my throat close. I did that, too.I used to love this park. Growing up in Northeast Philadelphia, my father would take me into town three times each year. We'd go to the zoo in the summer, to the flower show each spring, and to Wanamaker's for the Christmas light show in December. He'd buy me a treat -- a hot chocolate, a strawberry ice cream cone -- and we'd sit on a bench, and my father would make up stories about the people walking by. A teenager with a backpack was a rock star in disguise; a blue-haired lady in an ankle-length fur coat was carrying secrets for the Russians. When I was on the plane, somewhere over Virginia, I thought about this park, and the taste of strawberries and chocolate, and my father's arm around me. I thought I'd feel safe here. I was wrong. Every time I blinked, every time I breathed, I could feel the ground beneath me wobble and slide sideways. I could feel things starting to break.It had been this way since it happened. Nothing could make me feel safe. Not my husband, Sam, holding me, not the sad-eyed, sweet-voiced therapist he'd found, the one who'd told me, "Nothing but time will really help, and you just have to get through one day at a time."That's what we'd been doing. Getting through the days. Eating food without tasting it, throwing out the Styrofoam containers. Brushing our teeth and making the bed. On a Wednesday afternoon, three weeks after it happened, Sam had suggested a movie. He'd laid out clothes for me to wear -- lime-green linen capris that I still couldn't quite zip, an ivory silk blouse with pink-ribbon embroidery, a pair of pink slides. When I'd picked up the diaper bag by the door, Sam had looked at me strangely, but he hadn't said anything. I'd been carrying it instead of a purse before, and I'd kept right on carrying it after, like a teddy bear or a well-loved blanket, like something I loved that I couldn't bring myself to let go.I was fine getting into the car. Fine as we pulled into the parking garage and Sam held the door for me and walked me into the red-velvet lobby that smelled like popcorn and fake butter. And then I stood there, and I couldn't move another inch."Lia?" Sam asked me. I shook my head. I was remembering the last time we'd gone to the movies. Sam bought me malted milk balls and Gummi worms and the giant Coke I'd wanted, even though caffeine was verboten and every sip caused me to burp. When the movie ended, he had to use both hands to haul me out of my seat. I had everything then, I thought. My eyes started to burn, my lips started to tremble, and I could feel my knees and neck wobbling, as if they'd been packed full of grease and ball bearings. I set one hand against the wall to steady myself so I wouldn't start to slide sideways. I remembered reading somewhere about how a news crew had interviewed someone caught in the '94 Northridge earthquake. How long did it go on? the bland, tan newsman asked. The woman who'd lost her home and her husband had looked at him with haunted eyes and said, It's still happening."Lia?" Sam asked again. I looked at him -- his blue eyes that were still bloodshot, his strong jaw, his smooth skin. Handsome is as handsome does, my mother used to say, but Sam had been so sweet to me, ever since I'd met him. Ever since it had happened, he'd been nothing but sweet. And I'd brought him tragedy. Every time he looked at me, he'd see what we had lost; every time I looked at him, I'd see the same thing. I couldn't stay. I couldn't stay and hurt him anymore."I'll be right back," I said. "I'm just going to run to the bathroom." I slung my Vera Bradley bag over my shoulder, bypassed the bathroom, and slipped out the front door.Our apartment was as we'd left it. The couch was in the living room, the bed was in the bedroom. The room at the end of the hall was empty. Completely empty. There wasn't so much as a dust mote in the air. Who had done it? I wondered, as I walked into the bedroom, grabbed handfuls of underwear and T-shirts and put them into the bag. I hadn't even noticed, I thought. How could I not have noticed? One day the room had been full of toys and furniture, a crib and a rocker, and the next day, nothing. Was there some service you could call, a number you could dial, a website you could access, men who would come with garbage bags and vacuum cleaners and take everything away?Sam, I'm so sorry, I wrote. I can't stay here anymore. I can't watch you be so sad and know that it's my fault. Please don't look for me. I'll call when I'm ready. I'm sorry...I stopped writing. There weren't even words for it. Nothing came close. I'm sorry for everything, I wrote, and then I ran out the door.The cab was waiting for me outside of our apartment building's front door, and, for once, the 405 was moving. Half an hour later, I was at the airport with a stack of crisp, ATM-fresh bills in my hand. "Just one way?" the girl behind the counter had asked me."One way," I told her and paid for my ticket home. The place where they have to take you in. My mother hadn't seemed too happy about it, but then, she hadn't been happy about anything to do with me -- or, really, anything at all -- since I was a teenager and my father left. But there was a roof over my head, a bed to sleep in. She'd even given me a coat to wear on a cold day the week before.The woman I've been watching walked across the park, reddish-gold curls piled on her head, a canvas tote bag in her hand, and I leaned forward, holding tight to the edges of the bench, trying to make the spinning stop. She set her bag down on the lip of the fountain and bent down to pet a little black-and-white-spotted dog. Now, I thought, and I reached into my sleepover-size sack and pulled out the silver rattle. Should we get it monogrammed? Sam had asked. I'd just rolled my eyes and told him that there were two kinds of people in the world, the ones who got things monogrammed at Tiffany's and the ones who didn't, and we were definitely Type Twos. One silver rattle from Tiffany's, unmonogrammed, never used. I walked carefully over to the fountain before I remembered that I'd become invisible and that nobody would look at me no matter what I did. I slid the rattle into her bag and then I slipped away.Copyright © 2004 by Jennifer Weiner, Inc.

Bookclub Guide

Questions and Topics for Discussion 1) All four of the women who star in Little Earthquakes have complicated relationships with their mothers or mothers-in law. Think about how these relationships affect them and the bonds they develop with their babies. For instance, how do Ayinde's childhood memories and the current dynamics between her and her mother affect the relationship she develops with Julian? Ayinde clearly wants to raise her child differently than her parents raised her, but she also shows she wants to live up to her mother's expectations by taking Baby Success! seriously. How do you think this blend of motivations will affect Julian? 2) In Little Earthquakes, Ayinde, Kelly, and Becky each take a different approach to raising their baby. Ayinde tries Baby Success!; Kelly starts with a type A approach, keeping track of every little detail on spreadsheets and making sure Oliver has the perfect clothes and toys; and Becky goes for a more laid back, all-natural strategy. How do their approaches work out for them? Does any one approach seem to work out better than the others? 3) In the midst of their personal troubles, Becky's friends sometimes have a hard time remembering the ways in which they are fortunate. Kelly, in particular, tends to be scornful when people call her "lucky." But towards the end of the novel, Becky says, "If there was one lesson she'd learned from new motherhood, and from her friends, it was that any bit of good fortune had to be counted as luckyŠand that there was always, always someone worse off than you" (398). How does motherhood help put things in perspective for Becky? What does she learn from her friends, and what can we learn by comparing the experiences of each of the four women? 4) Kelly puts a lot of pressure on herself and on Steven to maintain the kind of life she couldn't have growing up. The schedule she tries to maintain is difficult, but it's not that different from the "double shift" of work and chores that many women take on when they have kids. Still, as the article in Power magazine read, "if Kelly O'Hara Day, with her smarts and her savvy and her Ivy League degree, can't successfully integrate a career and a family, it doesn't suggest that things for other working mothers are much different -- or that thirty some years after the feminists waged a so-called revolution, the workplace is likely to become a kinder, gentler place for the women who will follow in her footsteps" (441). Do you think Kelly mismanaged her life, or do you think the choices available to working women, are, as the reporter wrote, likely to put any woman in a tough spot? Can women today really have it all, or do they need to choose between having a family and having a career? 5) Both Ayinde and Kelly consider divorce at some point. When Ayinde considers leaving Richard, she thinks of the chapter on divorce in Baby Success!: "Marriage on the rocks? Keep your eyes on the prize. Remember what really matters. Remember who comes firstŠ.Babies do better with mommy and daddy both under the same roof" (298-9). Is this good advice? Were you surprised that Ayinde patched things up with Richard? Do you think either Ayinde or Kelly should have followed through with a divorce? 6) When Lia flees to Philadelphia, she leaves her husband behind, even though they love each other very much. She says, "Every time he looked at me, he'd see what we had lost; every time I looked at him, I'd see the same thing. I couldn't stay. I couldn't stay and hurt him anymore" (5). Why does Lia assume that her presence is hurting her husband? Where does her sense of culpability and guilt come from, and how do they complicate her grief? Why does she finally reach out to Sam? 7) After Ayinde learns what's causing Julian's heart murmur, she thinks, "A hole in his heart. It was almost poetic. She'd been walking around for weeks feeling like someone had torn a hole in her own" (354). How does Julian's malady reflect the injury that Ayinde has sustained on an emotional level, and what do his prospects for health and well-being imply about hers and the well-being of her friends, who have each had their own struggles? 8) Kelly's mother, Paula, tries to convince her daughter that covetousness is a sin. She says, "You should be concerned with the state of your soul, not the state of your bank account" (48). Considering the kind of life Kelly had at home, it's not surprising that she doesn't take her mother's advice to heart. Should she have taken her more seriously? Why does Kelly strive so hard to find the perfect accessories? Is she truly covetous? Is she looking for security? Does she wish to appear affluent? Does she appreciate nice things aesthetically? Whatever her motivation is, do you think she will ever be satisfied by the acquisition of objects? 9) Like all of the other characters, Ayinde's life changes dramatically when she has Julian. However, unlike Becky and Kelly, she also finds that she can no longer continue her career, due to her new husband's celebrity. How does Ayinde's sense of self change after she marries and has her baby? Do you think she makes choices for Julian and for herself that she would not have made if she could work? How is her relationship with her husband and baby affected by her decision not to pursue her career? 10) Becky has struggled with body image throughout her life, but her pregnancy seems to draw her attention to her weight more than usual. She had hoped that pregnancy would allow her to relax a little, but instead she finds herself playing "pregnant or just fat?" How does this disappointment and Becky's struggle with body image affect her experience with pregnancy? 11) Similarly, the characters experience numerous aspects of pregnancy and childbirth that they didn't really expect, or with which they were disappointed. Together, they discuss things that surprised them like the unpleasant physical side affects of pregnancy and baby farts, and more serious unexpected problems like Lia's trouble getting Caleb to sleep. Why do you think the characters, many of whom read books like What to Expect When You're Expecting or took classes in childbirth and baby care, found themselves confused and surprised so often? How did their expectations of motherhood conflict with reality? Where do you think their expectations came from?

Editorial Reviews

"Lively, witty, and often touching.... Weiner's snappy dialogue and captivating characters make Little Earthquakes endlessly appealing."
-- People