Reader’s Guide

Slow Love

Slow Love

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QUESTIONS AND TOPICS FOR DISCUSSION

INTRODUCTION

In 2007, House & Garden editor Dominique Browning became a casualty of the sudden dissolution of her magazine and she found herself out of a job she spent nearly thirteen years establishing. Violently divorced from her intense, high-pressure career, she soon struggled with a life promising nothing to do and little solace for what the future held.

Browning learns how challenging and rewarding it can be to decelerate one’s life and discover what truly matters. Through this personal and touching memoir, Browning faces her life head on and reveals the hidden happiness and wisdom that can be found in the simpler facets of life.

Slow Love is a book about redefining oneself, about righting one’s path after being knocked off course and learning that the journey may be just as important as the getting there.



ABOUT DOMINIQUE BROWNING

Dominique Browning is a writer, editor, publishing consultant, and the author of two previous nonfiction books. A classically trained pianist and the mother of two sons, she lives in New York and Rhode Island.



DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
  • The beginning of the book finds the author struggling with the loss of her job after thirteen years working as an editor for House & Garden. How would you describe her initial reaction to this life change? What would your reaction be and how does it compare to Dominique’s?

  • The author enjoys a rich relationship with her sons Alex and Theo. How did her career affect her role as mother? How did her relationship with her children progress and what is your opinion of that progression?

  • The author’s friendships are also affected by the shift in her life. What role does friendship play in Dominique’s situation? What is your opinion of the author’s claim that friendships “take time?”

  • One of the author’s key relationships throughout the book is with “Stroller.” How would you describe their dynamic as a couple? How do you feel about Stroller’s role in the relationship and how would you have approached it?

  • The author makes the difficult decision to sell her house. What impact does that have on her situation? What role do our homes play in these life-changing moments? Would you have sold your house? Why or why not?

  • Whether it is a discussion of cookbooks, the romantic qualities of a kitchen, or the emotional draw of baked goods, food plays a significant part in Slow Love. What purpose does food serve for the author throughout the course of this book? How do you see our relationship with food in our lives?

  • During a particularly turbulent bout of sleeplessness, the author turns to voracious reading and eventually, to the Bible. What was your take on the author’s wrestling with her own ambivalence toward God? What are your views and what impact would they have on you if you found yourself in the author’s situation?

  • The author also turns to music as a means of soul exploration. How does art, music, and poetry factor in to the author’s sense of happiness? How do these forms of expression factor into your sense of happiness?

  • The author’s battle with cancer has great impact on her life, though she writes that she gained “clarity” from the ordeal. How would you define that clarity? What can we take away from surviving illness that helps enrich our lives?

  • Dominique finds a certain peace in gardening. What meaning do you think the author sees in gardening? What significance do the blueberries her father gave her have and what lessons can we infer from that story?

  • Toward the end of the book, the author quotes Stroller as saying, “I no longer believe in the power of adult love to endure.” What is your opinion of this statement?

  • What key ideas did you take away from this book? What is your opinion of the kind of “slow love” the author writes about? How does the pace of one’s life affect her wellbeing?
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