Reading Someone Else’s Shoes for book club will give your group infinite things to talk about. A modern day story interweaving the lives of two middle-aged women on opposite sides of the spectrum. A little mishap switcharoo, has Nisha and Sam both figuratively and literally walk in each other’s shoes. The book’s key themes include loss, personal growth, and self-discovery. Friendship and female solidarity are also major themes found throughout the novel.
Be ready for an extensive conversation using these Someone Else’s Shoes book club questions. The discussion guide also features a book synopsis, some selected reviews, and at the very end we included three books similar to Someone Else’s Shoes so you can keep reading related material.
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Someone Else’s Shoes Synopsis
(We always chose to provide the publisher synopsis because we feel that it’s worthwhile to discuss whether the official book description actually squared with your experience of the book.)
Someone Else’s Shoes, Jojo Moyes
Nisha Cantor lives the globetrotting life of the seriously wealthy, until her husband announces a divorce and cuts her off. Nisha is determined to hang onto her glamorous life. But in the meantime, she must scramble to cope–she doesn’t even have the shoes she was, until a moment ago, standing in.
That’s because Sam Kemp – in the bleakest point of her life – has accidentally taken Nisha’s gym bag. But Sam hardly has time to worry about a lost gym bag–she’s struggling to keep herself and her family afloat. When she tries on Nisha’s six-inch high Christian Louboutin red crocodile shoes, the resulting jolt of confidence that makes her realize something must change—and that thing is herself.
Full of Jojo Moyes’ signature humor, brilliant storytelling, and warmth, Someone Else’s Shoes is a story about how just one little thing can suddenly change everything.
10 Someone Else’s Shoes Book Club Questions
- Nisha and Sam are complete opposites, yet they also share certain similarities. What are their similarities, and in what ways does this help them learn from one another?
- How do Nisha’s childhood experiences cause her to view her adult relationships in the form of transactions? Identify at least two examples in which her father’s “lessons” are evident in the way she relates to other men and/or women.
- Throughout the story, Nisha and Sam judge others by their appearances and face similar judgment themselves from others. How does wearing each other’s shoes change how Nisha and Sam perceive one another when they finally meet?
- “Am I…letting down the sisterhood? By—you know—using sex as a weapon? They are basically sex, these shoes, right?” Have you ever worn an article of clothing or an accessory that made you feel confident? What was it? How does wearing it impact the way you feel or act?
- This book is about female friendships and solidarity. What did you like best about the relationships among the women in this novel? Which was your favorite? Did you find them relatable?
- There is a lot of symbolism in this story, shoes serve as a symbol of social status and personal identity, and they influence how Nisha and Sam perceive themselves, as well as how the two women are perceived by others. What do these shoes represent for each character in terms of their self-image, confidence, and aspirations? How does the swap challenge their preconceptions and stereotypes about each other?
- “But if you cannot change your situation, then you have no choice. You can only change how you think about it.” Think about that, if you can’t change something you must change your perspective of it. In what ways did Nisha and Sam change their perspectives after walking in each other’s shoes?
- Some of the key themes of the story are reinvention and self-discovery. How do Nisha and Sam undergo a transformation throughout the story? How does their transformation impact their relationship with others, and themselves?
- The novel clarifies that the diamonds in Nisha’s heels were blood diamonds smuggled from Africa. She even wondered if her other heels had diamonds in them as well. What does this information reveal about Carl and Nisha’s role as his wife?
- This story is full of coincidences that carry the plot forward, while affecting the tone of the story. What does the tone of the story convey about the nature of fate and destiny? Were the coincidences believable?
Selected Reviews of Someone Else’s Shoes
(Use these selected Goodreads reviews to compare with your own experience of the book. Do you agree or disagree with the reviews?)
“…having read and enjoyed many books by Moyes, I was really looking forward to this read. Unfortunately, I found it lacking in all ways. I couldn’t find myself caring about the main characters (the secondary characters were better written) and the lack of growth until the very end was maddening. I found the story implausible and too coincidental to be believable. It was a lengthy flop for me.”
“This is my 4th Jojo Moyes book & I have to say I have enjoyed the majority of them! This was a fun chick lit novel that is about friendship, hardships and starting over. I enjoyed reading about NIsha & Sam and how they both struggled in life and how they met each other. I will say at times this novel was a little absurd and often felt like Murphy’s Law. But the characters had a lot of heart.”
“I was so excited to get my hands on the latest Jojo Moyes…but I despised Someone Else’s Shoes. 448 pages of two women over the age of 40 being treated badly by men. While I fumed for over 300 pages about Nishi’s husband’s treatment of her-I found her behavior contemptible. Her rage over “stolen” shoes, the lack of awareness over decades of financial abuse instead pushing her rage at other women wearing her clothes made every one of her segments punishing to read.”
“I absolutely loved Someone Else’s Shoes by JoJo Moyes. I thought it was creative, inspirational, and so much fun. I loved the sense of female friendship and camaraderie; the bonding together when it counts; the unlikely friendships formed. I found each character really unique, and though flawed and frustrating at times, they had their own stories, struggles and transformations.”
3 Books Like Someone Else’s Shoes
If you want to keep going with Moyes’ backlist, we’ve also got a discussion guide for The Rosie Project. For more personal growth narratives, consider our guide for Lessons in Chemistry. And we’ve also got a complete list of Jodi Picoult books (ranked and rated), many of which have themes of growth, redemption and female friendship.
The Switch, Beth O’Leary
A charming, generational novel about a granddaughter, Leeana, and her grandmother, Eileen, who switch homes and swap lives for a two-month period after Leeana goes on sabbatical for work. Once the two women switch locations, they’re able to find themselves, and even find love in the process.
The Help, Kathryn Stockett
This novel is centered around African Americans working in White households in Mississippi in the 1960s. Three women from different backgrounds come together and write about their experiences as Black maids working for Whites in the South during the civil rights movement. They then compile the stories and publish them. A deeply moving story filled with poignancy, humor, and hope.
Never Too Late, Robyn Carr
This is a story about starting over. Clare Wilson left her serial cheating husband, and then endured a horrific car accident. In the aftermath, Clare and her two sisters, help each other heal and grow, and even find happiness. A beautiful story about sisterhood, finding yourself once you start over, and finding love at a time when it’s least expected.
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Authored by Janelle Kennedy
Janelle is an avid reader who was born and raised in Las Vegas, NV. She enjoys reading and writing in her spare time. When not reading or writing, she’s working at a rural elementary school as an instructional aide, helping kids learn to read and write.
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