Book Club Questions and Discussion
1. The Currency of Love has many wild scenes. Which ones were the most memorable for you? Which ones made you laugh? Did any shock or inspire you?
2. Jill writes about her first real friendship being a pivotal point. Kelly "turns my weird, isolated life inside out.” Why was this friend so important? Have you ever had a friendship that changed your life? What made it beautiful and how did it alter your path?
3. The author hadn't considered how tough it would be to live in a foreign country and was totally unprepared. However, she ultimately fell in love with Paris and found it totally liberating. Why did she feel so free in Paris? Have you ever lived in a new country? Was it liberating or just plain difficult?
4. The author had beauty yet her beauty was flawed. Reaching for perfection with her face, body, and hair was a constant concern that affected all of her decisions. Were you surprised by the physical and emotional “burdens” of being a model? Would you be willing to change your appearance for the promise of wealth or fame?
5. When Gerald tricks and pushes Jill into unwanted intercourse, she feels confused, helpless, and weak. While filming in St. Tropez, she suffers obsessive thoughts, paranoia, and insecurity. How did this reaction tie back to her over-sexualized childhood? How did having no idea of what a healthy relationship looks like color her sight in relationships with men? How did her father's obsession with pornography affect her?
6. Models are often looked at as sex objects and sometimes treated like actual objects or tools like on page 158 when the photographer's wife says, “Many years ago, when my husband never looked at the models in that way, you know what I mean? They were only a tool to him, like a prop, a table or a chair.” Jill finds out the introduction to her was purchased—learning that she is an object for sale. Her reaction was immediate and extreme. Why did she react this way?
7. In the Olympe chapter the author says, “ I don't want to be owned by them (the agency) and I don't want to be chained to this business. Now I fly under the agency's radar, in control of my plans. But success will hijack me and run me into the ground." Jill suddenly wants to get lost in a foreign city. Why does she react this way? Was she afraid to lose her fragile footing, did she want a new life, or was she afraid of being controlled by the agency?
8. Jill loves fashion and expresses herself through her clothes. She ultimately feels controlled by Adnan’s desire for her to look polished, sophisticated, and wearing couture at his business dinners. Putting her sexy pink dress and wild makeup on in Vegas was her way of rebelling. Discuss the idea of suppression and control in limiting clothing choices or forcing a uniform on someone. Are you free to dress the way you want to?
9. We all should be entitled to express our individuality and personality through our clothes yet, what we wear sends a message. If I dress fancy with makeup, and show my curves some may think, “What great style, she loves fashion” yet others think, “She’s hunting for a man" or "She thinks she's hot." Why do women judge each other so harshly? What does your personal style tell the world about you?
10. The author thought fame and money would satisfy her. Yet on page 245 she writes, "Billionaire wealth is a pain in the ass at least half the time. The food is fresh, healthy, and prettier than a flower arrangement....Yet as soon as you acclimatize to all of this, it becomes the new normal and expected...And the worst part is that all of this luxury can leave an unhealthy vacuum of space and time, where anxiety and guilt can thrive, creating a cesspool." How would extreme wealth change your life for the better? What would be the negatives?
11. In Jill’s young naive mind, she sees Adnan as a saint. Why do you think she sees and portrays him so positively? Do you think he deserves that portrayal?
12. Adnan was loyal and not loyal at the same time. Describe some of his other unusual contradictions or desires. What were his strengths and weaknesses? What lessons did Jill learn from Adnan?
13. On page 208 Jill states, “Still, all harems, from the beginning of time, have fierce competition between the women. This was no different. I suffered occasional hurt and jealousy, and all of us women kept an eye on one another, but as long as I was his favorite, everything was fine in my world." Was the harem like you expected? How was it different?
14. The locations of Hollywood, Paris, and Las Vegas are almost like characters themselves with their own distinct personalities. Which place did you enjoy the most and least? How did the story shift from place to place?
15. The author had such an independent spirit, yet she feels so safe in Adnan's world where everything is taken care of. Ultimately the author walks away from his life of luxury to reclaim her freedom. As women, how do we reconcile the need to be cared for with the desire to be free and independent? Would you run away from or be drawn in by someone who could care for you like Adnan? Have you ever thrown everything away to gain your personal freedom?
16. The desire to be free is universal. Many times throughout the book, Jill expresses her need to be free from entrapment. Why do you think freedom is utterly crucial for her? How do you define freedom? How are you free and not free in your own life?
17. The author is on a wild quest to fill the lack inside of her. Fame and money didn’t fill the hole in her heart. Do you think spirituality did? Do you think she found peace or just took a small step towards peace? How do you find peace in your life?