Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
Julie has such a remarkable relationship with Julia Child, despite never
having met her. What did you think of the relationship that Julie built in
her mind? And why does it not matter, in some sense, when Julie finds out
that Julia wasn't an admirer of hers or the Project?
Throughout the book, various people become involved with the Project:
Julie's husband, her friends, and several of her family members. Discuss the
different roles each played in the Project. Which people were most helpful
and supportive? Who was occasionally obstructionist?
Did you find Julie to be a likeable character? Did you relate to her
insecurities, anxieties, and initial discontent? Why do you think it is that
she was able to finish the Project despite various setbacks?
The Julie/Julia Project is obsessive and chaotic, yet it manages to
bring a sort of order to Julie's life. Have you ever gone to obsessive
lengths in an attempt to, ironically, make things more manageable? Why do
you think Julie does (or doesn't) succeed in this?
If someone were to ask you about this book, how would you describe it?
Is it a memoir of reinvention? An homage to Julia Child? A rags-to-riches
story? A reflection on cooking and the centrality of food in our lives? Or
is it all (or none) of these?
Did Julie's exploits in her tiny kitchen make you want to cook? Or did
they make you thankful that you don't have to debone a duck or sauté a
liver? Even if your tastes may not coincide with Julia Child's recipes, did
the book give you a greater appreciation of food and cooking?
At various points in the book, Julie finds that cooking makes her
question her own actions and values. What did you make of her lobster guilt,
for example, or her thoughts on extracting bone marrow? Have you ever
encountered these issues while cooking, or while going through other
everyday motions of life? Have you come to conclusions similar to or
different from Julie's?
When Julie began the Project, she knew little to nothing about blogging.
What do you think blogging about her experiences offered her? Does writing
about events in your life help you understand and appreciate them more? Do
you think the project would have gone differently if the blog hadn't gained
so much attention? Who was the blog mainly for, Julie or her readers?
Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Back Bay Books.
Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.
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