While many cultivated new and wacky hobbies during the early months of the pandemic (hello, sourdough starter in a jar!), Ann Napolitano was busy writing a book. But it was not just any project—it was Hello Beautiful, which became an examination of a complicated family dynamic. Now the book is a national bestseller and was named the 100th Oprah’s Book Club selection. Hello Beautiful, the fourth work by Napolitano, has left readers across the country unable to put it down.
To celebrate the book, Oprah hosted an in-person conversation with Napolitano and four book club members to discuss the work, airing right here on Saturday, April 15, at 11 a.m. ET. “I could actually weep right now thinking about the joy that I felt while reading this book,” Oprah said during the discussion. “I was 10 pages in and I knew that I was going to choose it for the book club.”
In Hello Beautiful, a reserved William Waters meets and falls in love with Julia Padavano and becomes a part of her rambunctious family living in Chicago. In a nod to Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, Napolitano introduces us to the Padavano sisters, who transform William’s life. His childhood trauma makes a lasting impact on his adopted family, testing their loyalties.
The lively discussion was a deep dive into mental health, forgiveness, grief, and resiliency, with book club members sharing their own personal experiences and lessons learned from Hello Beautiful. Oprah also asked the group which of the sisters they identified with. Onika, a club member, said she initially aligned with Julia, but as the character evolved, her assessment changed, and she challenged herself to examine her own perceptions of relationships. Another club member, Stacey, saw herself in Celine because of her matter-of-fact approach to life: “She was so genuine in who she was, unapologetic but so compassionate with her family.” Watch this moment and more when the Oprah’s Book Club conversation airs right here on April 15 at 11 a.m. ET.
In the comments below, tell us: How did you feel about Hello Beautiful? What was the one lesson you won’t forget? To share your ideas about the book and follow Oprah’s Book Club, find us on Instagram, Facebook, or here on Oprah Daily. #ReadWithUs.
Wadzanai is a Books Editor at Oprah Daily where she edits and writes about authors and books. She has written for various publications including The New York Times, The Guardian, Essence Magazine among others. She is also a short story writer centering her work on women, Africa and the Diaspora.