“One of the most haunting stories I have ever read about the price we pay for the secrets we keep” from the award-winning author of How Will I Know You? (Julia Glass, national bestselling author).
The Gretchen Question recounts a day in the life of Roberta Chase, who does not have much time left to make peace with her son ,who’s punishing her for withholding his father’s true identity from him. A single mother torn between protecting her only child or revealing herself fully to the people she loves most, Roberta finds herself at war with conflicting loyalties, increasing betrayal by her own body, the confused love she feels for her oldest friend, and a trauma from her past that casts a deep and possibly permanent shadow not only over her own life, but over the legacy she will bestow upon her son. Portraying the most intense and shameful moments of motherhood, and the things we leave unsaid even to those we want most to hear them, The Gretchen Question is a celebration of one woman’s private reckoning with the source of her life’s most profound pain―as well as its greatest pleasure.
“A powerful and emotional ride with disorienting, satisfying turns and a stunning end. Treadway is masterful.” —Lily King, New York Times–bestselling author
“Roberta’s . . . emotional journey is captured beautifully. Treadway powerfully captures one woman’s attempt to live a meaningful existence despite all that she has endured.” —Publishers Weekly
“A thoughtful, and thought-provoking, meditation on love, loss, and legacy.” —Kirkus Reviews
Treadway's ruminative latest (after How Will I Know You?) spans one day in the life of a single mother enduring a terminal cancer relapse. Roberta Chase, 47, tries to tell her son, Will, about her prognosis, but he won't speak to her until she reveals the identity of his biological father. When Roberta reports for work she's a coder in a hospital her supervisor informs her that she's been suspended over concerns about her ability to perform while undergoing cancer treatment. Later, she interrupts a break-in at her best friend, Grettie's house; the intruder, recognizing her condition, takes pity on her. Threaded throughout are Roberta's memories of her and Will's relationship through the years, as well as her friendship with Grettie, whom Roberta met in college and whom she adores in a more than platonic way. Roberta's final chore of the day is to attend a therapy session, where an explosive confrontation unearths the truth about Will's paternity and shows why Roberta has lied to her child and everyone around her over and over again. While some of Roberta's relationships with other characters feel underdeveloped, her emotional journey is captured beautifully. Treadway powerfully captures one woman's attempt to live a meaningful existence despite all that she has endured.