Review: Julie and Julia

I didn’t watch much television as a child so this shouldn’t come as a surprise…I have not watched an episode of Julia Child’s cooking show.
My book club pondered the idea of reading Julie & Julia when it was a new release but for some reason we didn’t select the book. We would discuss it from time to time but after someone read this book we decided against it. Now that I have read this book, I need to have a follow up conversation to understand why she didn’t feel it was a good selection for us. I think women who like to cook would have a lot to discuss (I think my book group would love this book).

Before I discuss my view of this book, it’s important to remind you that I’m a vegetarian. It’s the “ICK” factor that causes me angst. This caused some issues for me reading the book, I did have to put it down several times since some sections gave me an upset stomach.

This is a memoir of Julie Powell as she shares a year of her life with us. As the book opens we quickly learn that Julie is lacking direction and is struggling to find her way through life. During a visit to her Mom’s home she finds two copies of a cookbook. She decides to make every recipe and her husband challenges her to write a blog…‘The Julie & Julia Project’ is born. We follow Julie through the adventures of finding ingredients and making recipes, the cleanliness of her home, her mother’s visits, interest from the media and more.

The reviews are mixed on this book. I initially read the book because the movie will be released in a few weeks. I can’t express how much I liked the book, in fact for content and educational value it’s near the top of my list for books read recently. Do not expect a literary work of excellence. I was amused, grossed out, and was able to connect to the writer and her journey.

Links of interest:
- Click here to read the author’s blog
-
Powell’s post from the day Julia Child died
-
NY Times book review
- Author Q&A with Powell’s bookstore
- Review of the movie on Epicurious.com

Interview with Gothamist, click here to read the complete article:
When you started the blog, did you have bigger goals, like a book, in mind, or was it simply the year-long commitment to making all the recipes?It was really simply a personal commitment to the project itself. I had no conception of having a book come out of this at all. It was a really personal project for me and a way for me to have an outlet and a part of my life to call my own since I was so overwhelmed with my work day job.

How much time elapsed between having the idea for the blog and starting it?About 48 hours. There was not much planning involved. It was sort of one of those Reese's chocolate peanut butter cup moments where I’d been talking about wanting to learn to cook, wanting to write something and the two ideas sort of knocked into each other and made this project idea.
Type: Memoir

Synopsis:
With the humor of Bridget Jones and the vitality of Augusten Burroughs, Julie Powell recounts how she conquered every recipe in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking and saved her soul.

Julie Powell is 30 years old, living in a tiny apartment in Queens and working at a soul-sucking secretarial job that's going nowhere. She needs something to break the monotony of her life, and she invents a deranged assignment. She will take her mother's worn, dog-eared copy of Julia Child's 1961 classic Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and she will cook all 524 recipes -- in the span of one year.

At first she thinks it will be easy. But as she moves from the simple Potage Parmentier (potato soup) into the more complicated realm of aspics and crepes, she realizes there's more to Mastering the Art of French Cooking than meets the eye.

And somewhere along the line she realizes she has turned her outer-borough kitchen into a miracle of creation and cuisine. She has eclipsed her life's ordinariness through spectacular humor, hysteria, and perseverance.

Reviews:“You’ll devour this delicious memoir describing one woman’s search for excitement, fulfillment, and the perfect crepe.” – Cosmopolitan
“A feast, a voyage, and a marvel.” – Elizabeth Gilbert

8 comments

  1. As an omnivore, some of the recipes grossed me out too :-).

    I also enjoyed the book, probably because I identified with that aimless wondering what to do next in my life. I really liked how she took on a project, and that helped her figure out where she's going. That's kind of what I'm doing with my blog, but it hasn't provided me with any real answers yet :-).

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  2. Heh, I hadn't even thought about how icky it would be to read as a veggie :)

    found you via book blogs. I actually reviewed this book as well... and while I really enjoyed it, there was this one thing that bugged me: the Julia "snapshots."

    Anyway, love you blog!

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  3. I just read and reviewed this as well. I really enjoyed it and would imagine that it would be tough to read as a vegetarian! I was grossed out at parts so it must have been rough for you. I liked that a blogger could take her project and turn it into a book and now a movie. I agree, it would be a great book to discuss with a book club.

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  4. I enjoyed this book a lot, and it inspired me - not to cook, but to get involved in blogging! It was one of the first books I reviewed on my blog, over two years ago. Glad you liked it!

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  5. After hearing quite a few people say 'pass' on this book, I'm so happy Laura (Imbookingit) pushed me to read it.

    I wasn't expecting fantastic writing, since this seemed to be the biggest complaint. I simply loved the stories.

    It didn't hurt that my family is from NYC and I remember trying to find the perfect ingredient with my grandma as a young girl.

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  6. I won this book and can't wait to read it! I also can't wait to see the movie . Great review.
    Natalie :0)

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  7. At this point, I'm so tired of cooking that NOTHING could inspire me to cook. That said, I'd love to see the movie, not so sure about the book!

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  8. I really loved this book. I did not think I was, actually just bought it on a whim, but really enjoyed it. However, I read the excerpt from her next book and I am not sure if I could stomach that one!

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