How to Eat a Cupcake
“An irresistible blend of sweet and tart, this book is truly a treat to be savored.”
—Beth Kendrick, author of The Bake Off and Second Time Around
“A sparkling, witty story about an unlikely, yet redemptive, friendship….Grab one of these for your best friend and read it together—preferably with a plate of Meyer Lemon cupcakes nearby.”
—Katie Crouch, bestselling author of Girls in Trucks and Men and Dogs
Author Meg Donohue has cooked up an absolutely scrumptious debut novel, How to Eat a Cupcake, that explores what happens when two childhood friends, Annie and Julia, reconnect as adults and decide to open a cupcakery. But success in their new baking business venture will depend upon their overcoming old betrayals, first loves, and an unexpected and quite dangerous threat. Donohue’s How to Eat a Cupcake is contemporary women’s fiction at its smartest, sweetest, and most satisfying, joining the ranks of The Recipe Club, The School for Essential Ingredients, and Joanne Harris’s classic Chocolat by proving once again that fiction and food make an unbeatable combination.
Praise For How to Eat a Cupcake: A Novel…
“[A] sparkling, witty story. Donohue’s voice is lovely, intelligent, and alluring. Grab one of these for your best friend and read it together--preferably with a plate of Meyer Lemon cupcakes nearby.” — Katie Crouch, bestselling author of Girls in Trucks and Men and Dogs
“Beautifully written and quietly wise, Meg Donohue’s How to Eat a Cupcake is an achingly honest portrayal of the many layers of friendship--a story so vividly told, you can (almost) taste the buttercream.” — Sarah Jio, author of The Violets of March and The Bungalow
“A heartwarming and unpredictable tale of friendship, family and frosting.” — Zoe Fishman, author of Balancing Acts
“An irresistible blend of sweet and tart, this book is truly a treat to be savored.” — Beth Kendrick, author of The Bake Off and Second Time Around
“Deliciously engaging. Donohue writes with charm and grace. What could be better than friendship and cupcakes?” — Rebecca Rasmussen, author of The Bird Sisters
“Donohue’s sweet debut is a clever exploration of how a West Coast mean girl grows up and gives in to friendship, love, and dozens of delicious cupcakes....Donohue’s culinary romantic thriller will keep readers hungry for more.” — Publishers Weekly
“Donohue has written a sharp little novel featuring the subtle characterizations of two appealingly flawed young women.” — Kirkus Reviews
William Morrow Paperbacks, 9780062069283, 320pp.
Publication Date: March 13, 2012
About the Author
Meg Donohue is the USA Today bestselling author of How to Eat a Cupcake, All the Summer Girls, and Dog Crazy. She has an MFA in creative writing from Columbia University and a BA in comparative literature from Dartmouth College. Born and raised in Philadelphia, she now lives in San Francisco with her husband, three children, and dog.
Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com
Julia describes her relationship with Annie as a “yin-yang friendship.” In Chinese philosophy, the concept of yin yang refers to interdependent opposites, or two halves of a whole. Have you ever had a friend whose personality or background was very different from your own? In what ways did those differences strengthen your friendship? It ways did they weaken it? How has what you look for in a friend changed as you’ve gotten older? Are you more or less likely to befriend someone different from you now than when you were younger?
Julia really believes in cupcakes—she thinks they are more than a passing trend and that opening a cupcakery will help her get through a difficult time in her life. Annie’s cupcakes in particular have an almost magical affect on her spirits. What is it about cupcakes that holds such appeal for Julia? Do you think there is a reason our society is embracing cupcakes at this particular point in time?
Annie inherited her love of baking from her mother. Has a relative ever passed a hobby or profession down to you? If so, in what way does that hobby or profession become a memorial to the person from whom you learned? What does the act of baking mean to Annie?
The relationships Annie and Julia have with their own, and each others’, mothers are central to this story. What are the differences between those relationships? In what ways are Lucia and Lolly different as mothers and caregivers? In what ways are they similar?
Annie and Julia are nearly—but not quite—sisters. Do you think the bonds of friendship can ever be as tight as the bonds of family?
Annie held a grudge against Julia for many years. Was her anger justified? In Annie’s shoes, would you have been able to forgive Julia? How would it change your answer if Julia were related by blood?
Do you consider Julia to be a sympathetic or unsympathetic character? Do you think it’s important for protagonists to be “likable”? Why or why not?
Julia carries the burden of an untold trauma for much of the novel. Why do you think she kept this trauma secret for as long as she did? Have you ever felt so terrible about something—either something you did or something that happened to you—that you did not allow yourself to think about it or talk about it? Did you ever end up telling anyone? Did talking about it make you feel better?
Annie and Julia’s love of cupcakes reunites them. What do you think of the idea that food can bring people together? Is this a particularly female phenomenon or do men experience it too?
How do Annie and Julia each change over the course of the novel?
Where do you envision Annie and Julia now? Do Julia and Wes have children? Are Annie and Ogden still together? Has Julia convinced Annie to open another Treat?
How do you eat a cupcake? Is your approach reflective of your personality?