From her iconic voice, charm, and wit, to Dan Ackroyd’s famous portrayal of her on SNL; everybody knows Julia Child. Her television shows were wildly popular, and she revolutionized how America cooked dinner. Mastering the Art of French Cooking is one of the most popular cookbooks of all time. Dearie takes a look at Julia’s entire life: affluent childhood, reluctant college graduate, and intense, methodical chef.
- Julia grew up with a determined, and domineering, father. How do you think his personality affected Julia and her career?
- Julia enjoyed a life of privilege. How would her life have been different if her inheritance hadn’t been there to support her and Paul?
- Julia graduated from Smith College. The book states the college failed her by not preparing her for ‘the real world’ and letting her flounder; yet she was bequeathing the school her personal effects when she passed. Why did Julia feel such loyalty to a school? Do you feel that kind of loyalty exists anymore?
- In speaking about loyalty, Julia had a loyal group of friends. She was close friends with Judith Jones – who worked at Knopf Publishing. When Julia’s lawyer demanded more money and royalties, Knopf knew they wouldn’t be able to meet such demands. Judith contacted Julia directly to personally ask Julia to be more reasonable. Julia quickly cut the phone conversation off stating ‘this is why I have a lawyer!’ Their friendship was never the same. Why do you think Julia would be so quick to sour a personal relationship, yet remain loyal to a school? What does that say about her personality?
- Paul was the love of Julia’s life. How did Paul change Julia? How did Julia change after Paul’s death?
- Julia seemed to feed off of her relationships with domineering personalities (her father, Paul, Simca, Madam Barrett, etc). Some of her relationships seemed like a love/hate relationship at times. How did all these personalities drive Julia?
- As Julia got older, and her close friends were passing, she continually surrounded herself with a young entourage. Do you think she was trying to escape her age or did she gain something from surrounding herself with young, rising stars?
- Julia was always concerned with her image, and she always had to be in the public eye. What do you think the Julia Child image is? Do you think any of her later shows diminished her image?
- Julia was outspoken about her personal, ethical, moral, and political views (i.e. Planned Parenthood, abortion, Republicans). When Jane Fonda and others were ostracized or blackballed for their views, why was Julia Child above the fray? Why didn’t her outspoken views tarnish her image?