The Mostly True Story of Tanner & Louise
by Colleen Oakley

Published: 2023-03-28T00:0
Hardcover : 352 pages
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A Good Morning America Buzz Pick * A Marie Claire Book Club Pick for April * A Reader's Digest Book Club Pick for April * A LibraryReads Pick * One of Southern Living's Most Anticipated 2023 Releases * One of Today's Most Anticipated 2023 Releases

An unforgettable pairing of a college ...

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A Good Morning America Buzz Pick * A Marie Claire Book Club Pick for April * A Reader's Digest Book Club Pick for April * A LibraryReads Pick * One of Southern Living's Most Anticipated 2023 Releases * One of Today's Most Anticipated 2023 Releases

An unforgettable pairing of a college dropout and an eighty-four-year-old woman on the run from the law in this story full of tremendous heart, humor, and wit from the USA Today bestselling author of The Invisible Husband of Frick Island.

Twenty-one-year-old Tanner Quimby needs a place to live. Preferably one where she can continue sitting around in sweatpants and playing video games nineteen hours a day. Since she has no credit or money to speak of, her options are limited, so when an opportunity to work as a live-in caregiver for an elderly woman falls into her lap, she takes it.

One slip on the rug. That’s all it took for Louise Wilt’s daughter to demand that Louise have a full-time nanny living with her. Never mind that she can still walk fine, finish her daily crossword puzzle, and pour the two fingers of vodka she drinks every afternoon.Bottom line: Louise wants a caretaker even less than Tanner wants to be one.

The two start off their living arrangement happily ignoring each other until Tanner starts to notice things—weird things. Like, why does Louise keep her garden shed locked up tighter than a prison? And why is the local news fixated on the suspect of one of the biggest jewelry heists in American history who looks eerily like Louise? And why does Louise suddenly appear in her room, with a packed bag at 1 a.m. insisting that they leave town immediately?

Thus begins the story of a not-to-be-underestimated elderly woman and an aimless young woman who—if they can outrun the mistakes of their past—might just have the greatest adventure of their lives.

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Discussion Questions

From the publisher:

1. When Tanner and Louise first meet, they make a lot of assumptions about each other. Have you ever gotten a negative first impression of someone that turned out to be wrong (or right) as you got to know them?

2. When we first meet her, Tanner is hell-bent on getting back to Northwestern, even though she can’t play soccer. Why do you think she’s struggling so much to accept the curveball life has thrown her?

3. Given their age difference, what do you see as the toughest disconnect between Tanner and Mrs. Wilt when they start living together?

4. Do you have a favorite person in Louise’s family? What do you enjoy most about the character?

5. When Tanner started to pick up on several suspicious things around Mrs. Wilt’s house, did you agree with her? Or did you assume she had an overactive imagination?

6. When Louise burst into Tanner’s room demanding they leave immediately, what did you think was the real reason she needed to leave? Were you right or wrong?

7. If you could pick the getaway car of your dreams, what would it be?

8. What was the most memorable pit stop along the road trip for you as you read? Have you been to any of the places Tanner and Louise went?

9. Louise muses: “People always said life was short, but it wasn’t. Not really. You could cram so many different lives into one. Be so many different people.” Do you think that’s true? Do you feel like you’ve lived different lives or been a different person at different times in your life?

10. Did you see a point where Tanner’s mindset about aging begins to change from what she thought early on, that “all old white women were nearly indistinguishable from one another”? Did you agree or disagree with her there?

11. There are so many strong female friendships in this novel—Tanner and Vee; Louise and George; and then, of course, Tanner and Louise. How do these relationships differ, and how are they similar? Do any of them remind you of your own friendships? How so?

12. When George and Louise are catching up after being reunited, Louise asks George, “Do you really think things are better now? For women, I mean.” What do you think? Are things better or worse for women in America now than, say, fifty years ago?

13. What would you say is the biggest life lesson Tanner learns from her friendship with Louise? And does Louise learn anything from having Tanner in her life?

14. The author was inspired to write this novel because of her close relationship with her grandmother and everything her grandmother taught her. Have you ever had the experience of learning from an older generation? What was the most valuable thing they shared with you?

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