Book Club Notes: Get the Girls Out
Thank you for choosing Get the Girls Out for your book club! I can’t tell you how fabulous the happy tingles feel throughout my little body, now that people are reading, enjoying and talking about this book. And book clubs take the discussion to the next level.
In 2015, I was approached by HarperCollins to write a book, the very same day I was fired from my beloved job. Well, I suddenly had plenty of time on my hands, so off we went.
Get the Girls Out started off as a business book, but it was agonisingly difficult to write down all my clever business advice without feeling like a monstrous dick head. Everything changed when I spoke at an event for Ariana Huffington and I met her sister Agape. She told me to stop trying to write a business book and start writing the stories I want to leave for the people I love.
That was the best advice and I am so glad I changed tack because after that, the words just came out in huge blurts until it was done. In October 2017, I handed in a manuscript so chock full of legal problems I think HarperCollins’ lawyer nearly had a heart attack and died on the spot. It took another year or so to perfect so that you, dear reader, have a book which is raw, honest and authentic without being downright defamatory. That’s the story of my life: keeping it true while I cover my ass!
Here is some interesting background that might entertain you:
- The working title for this book was “Changing the World One Vagina at a Time”
- My publisher made me rewrite the final chapter three times and I cried a river of tears because every time I thought I had handed in the final chapter and would party like there was no tomorrow and then a few days later, HarperCollins would come back to me and gently say, “Not so fast champ.” They were right all along. It is a much better final chapter than the first one I wrote.
- I wrote the courage chapter first and the Chasing Squirrels chapter second last. The hardest chapter to write was the Kindness chapter and I doubt I will ever reread it.
- I forgot to include a wonderful story in my book about the time I met with the Foreign Minister for Ethiopia when he was in Sydney for a Malaria conference. His name is Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesusand and he is the ultimate diplomat and a true statesman. He was the former Health Minister of Ethiopia with a PhD in Malaria and knew the hospital and Dr H very well. At the time, I was neck deep in dispute negotiations with Catherine’s former fundraisers. Tedros is the person who gave me my Ethiopian name, Dinknesh. He offered to meet with me and the Anglican boys to discuss their pile of cash and see if he could broker some kind of peace talks on a warm November day in 2013. No peace was on offer that day. After an hour or so, Tedros politely ended the meeting. He said, “If you will excuse me, Dinknesh and I have more business to discuss,” and we left. I was so smug my head nearly fell off as we left that meeting of manspreading mansplainers. Because it was me walking out of there with the man tipped to be the future prime minister of Ethiopia, I tell ya! He’s now the Director General of the World Health Organisation and I am a huge fan.
- When Wendy Whiteley read the almost final manuscript she asked me to come and see her on a steaming hot day in February 2019. We were right on print deadline for the book, but she wanted to give me a stern bollocking. Wendy thought the first chapter repeated the term “kick in the vag” too often and so I renamed it, “A kick where it hurts” and took out the repetition of that phrase throughout the chapter. “Why do you have to be so vulgar!” I didn’t tell her what the working title had been. Later in the manuscript, I wrote something about “dragging my ass through another stage of life”. She circled it and wrote in her lovely bold handwriting in the margin, “Why are we always talking about your vag or your ass!” In the end, Wendy said it was a wonderful book and wrote me a beautiful cover endorsement. “It’s good once your story is out there, Lucy,” she said. “You won’t have to repeat yourself anymore when people ask you the same questions about your life. You can just say, read the book.”
- My mum seems to have changed her mind about my book. She read it before it went to print and said, “Lucy, you are such a good writer”. Then after it was launched into the world, she said she was shocked by it. SHOCKED! She is pushing 80 after all.
- I have been asked a number of times if I will write another memoir after the next 20 years of adventure. The answer is yes. Publishing is like Maternal Amnesia when you forget just how challenging childbirth really is so you decide to have another. Then you’re in labour again, on your tippy toes hurtling through a ferocious contraction and you acutely remember it all and think “fuck, why’d I do this to myself again?”. But then the magic childbirth hormones flood your body as you hold your baby in your arms and forget the pain in an instant. And that is how you wind up having two or three or four or five children. Writing books is the same. I stood there at the book launch for Get the Girls Out with a hundred people grinning at me, the team from Harpers in a neat little row like shield maidens with my shiny book in their arms and I thought, “damn straight I will write another book.”
I hope your book club has a cracking discussion about Get the Girls Out. Here’s a big sloppy kiss for the person who influenced that choice.
Please subscribe to the podcast, The Recovery Room: interviews with some of the magnificent people you meet in the pages of Get the Girls Out.
Thanks again for reading my memoir. Love ya guts to the beach and back.
P.S. Captain India says hi and “thank you for having the courage to read this book.”
P.P.S. You can download a pretty PDF version of these book club notes here.
SUGGESTED BOOK CLUB QUESTIONS
- Why did you choose this book for your book club?
- Do you think Get the Girls out appeals to men and women? If not why not? If yes, how does it do that?
- What was your favourite chapter and why? If there is a clear favourite from your book club, please let me know. I am running a tally.
- What aspects of the story could you most relate to?
- Which of the places in this book make you want to pack your bags and go?
- Share your favourite quote/s.
- What gaps do you wish I had filled in? Were there points where you thought I shared too much?
- Think about the other people in the book besides me. Which one/s would you most like to meet and why? Which ones would you like to punch in the face?
- What has reading this bought taught you? What lessons will you apply to your own life?
- Who will you recommend this book to?