The Blue Wildebeest Book Club Questions


  1. Julie has an irrational fear of sailing.  Do you believe a traumatic experience can cause this reaction?  Can a person overcome their irrational fears?  Does Julie?

  2. What does it take for a person to decide to begin anew?  Which characters do this?  Is it related to age?

  3. What is “retirement?”  What should it be?  At what point should the future be less important than the present or the past?

  4. How does this story illustrate the different types of  friendship, even among closest friends?  Is one type of friend more important than another?  

  5. How does one understand the boundaries of friendship?

  6. How might the two settings (Phoenix and Cape Cod) serve a metaphor in this novel?

  7. How do the symbols of the sailboat painting and the wildebeest complement the themes of the novel?

  8. Mattie has a few dream-like experiences.  What do they represent?

  9. Why did Edna tell Corrine, rather than Mattie, about her illness?  Does this help us understand Mattie and Julie?  

  10. How is Julie affected by the Cape Cod experience?  Why was it so difficult for her to let Mattie go?  Why were Julie's dreams important to her understanding?  What is her pivotal moment?  Do you believe she grows or changes by the end of the novel? 

  11. What is the significance of the men in the novel?  How are the male characters different from the females?  Why?

  12. How do you think Julie and Edward got together to begin with?  What might their relationship say about her which is not reflected in the action of the novel?

  13. What questions does the novel bring up for you as a woman?  Which relationships in your life can you compare/contrast with those in the novel?

  14. Which character do you most relate to in your past, present, and future?

  15. How would you describe the relationship between Julie and Mattie?  Was it influenced by each of their relationships with Corrine and Edna?  

  16. Why was it important for Julie to remember her parents?

  17. What questions does the novel bring up about raising a child?

  18. What do the characters each realize about mortality? 

  19. Conflict – What conflicts are important in the novel.  What message about conflict can we take away?

  20. What is the significance of the name Matilda?