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- Mothers—their relationships with their children, the choices they make to balance motherhood with the rest of their lives
- Racial and socio-economic factors in American life, c.1990s (setting of book)
- The burden of secrets
- The search for identity; loneliness; and/or not fitting in
- Complications that come with living in a carefully planned suburban community
- The philosophy of The Shakers (religious group w/many “utopian” villages in the Eastern U.S.)