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Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously

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Julie & Julia, the bestselling memoir that's "irresistible....A kind of Bridget Jones meets The French Chef" (Philadelphia Inquirer), is now a major motion picture. Julie Powell, nearing thirty and trapped in a dead-end secretarial job, resolves to reclaim her life by cooking in the span of a single year, every one of the 524 recipes in Julia Child's legendary Masterin Julie & Julia, the bestselling memoir that's "irresistible....A kind of Bridget Jones meets The French Chef" (Philadelphia Inquirer), is now a major motion picture. Julie Powell, nearing thirty and trapped in a dead-end secretarial job, resolves to reclaim her life by cooking in the span of a single year, every one of the 524 recipes in Julia Child's legendary Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Her unexpected reward: not just a newfound respect for calves' livers and aspic, but a new life-lived with gusto. The film is written and directed by Nora Ephron and stars Amy Adams as Julie and Meryl Streep as Julia.


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Julie & Julia, the bestselling memoir that's "irresistible....A kind of Bridget Jones meets The French Chef" (Philadelphia Inquirer), is now a major motion picture. Julie Powell, nearing thirty and trapped in a dead-end secretarial job, resolves to reclaim her life by cooking in the span of a single year, every one of the 524 recipes in Julia Child's legendary Masterin Julie & Julia, the bestselling memoir that's "irresistible....A kind of Bridget Jones meets The French Chef" (Philadelphia Inquirer), is now a major motion picture. Julie Powell, nearing thirty and trapped in a dead-end secretarial job, resolves to reclaim her life by cooking in the span of a single year, every one of the 524 recipes in Julia Child's legendary Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Her unexpected reward: not just a newfound respect for calves' livers and aspic, but a new life-lived with gusto. The film is written and directed by Nora Ephron and stars Amy Adams as Julie and Meryl Streep as Julia.

30 review for Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously

  1. 5 out of 5

    devra

    it seemed so simple, and so brilliant and so the perfect type of book for me, i remember thinking as i perused--i forget what, probably the new york times--and saw a reference to julie powell's julie and julia project. a woman who dedicated her year to learning how to cook. like me. i hoped for inspiration--for my writing, for my cooking, for ideas that i could incorporate into both. i immediately ordered a copy. or maybe i went straight to borders after work. i started reading the night i got it. it seemed so simple, and so brilliant and so the perfect type of book for me, i remember thinking as i perused--i forget what, probably the new york times--and saw a reference to julie powell's julie and julia project. a woman who dedicated her year to learning how to cook. like me. i hoped for inspiration--for my writing, for my cooking, for ideas that i could incorporate into both. i immediately ordered a copy. or maybe i went straight to borders after work. i started reading the night i got it. that's how eager i was. and then i put it down in disgust. it wasn't her language--i'm from new jersey, i can swear like a sailor and appreciate the release it offers in one's vocabulary. it was her attitude. whiny. despairing. woe-is-me. that was my first turn-off. several months later, i picked it up again, convinced that i had just given it short shrift. it's pretty rare, after all, that i don't bother to finish a book that i've started. i got much farther into the book this time--nearly halfway--and again, i got distracted and annoyed by her writing style. this, i rationalized, may have been because i had started the book all over again from the beginning instead of merely picking up where i left off, giving all of the original prejudices a chance to rear their heads again. i donated the book to a used book store. and then, in spite of myself, i picked up another copy off of a discount table at barnes and noble. surely, surely the third time would be the charm. surely the information and hope that i had envisioned were somewhere within the pages of this conceptually brilliant book. so this time, just last week, i decided to throw it into my weekend travel bag for a 3-hour train ride and give it one last try. i started from where i'd left off, approximately. i read it non-stop for 3 hours. and it did, at last, begin to grow on me. i shared her affinity for buffy, her inability to make pastry cream even after a dozen practices. i loved her chapter about her murderous rampage of the lobsters in new york city. and here is where i really found the weakness of this book--not in the tone, or the despair, or the language or the attitude. it was actually in the structure of the book itself. julie seemed incapable of adhering to a timeline. everything was an anecdote that tied back to something else. and since she wasn't really writing chronologically, on a recipe-by-recipe basis, each anecdote had to be explained before it could be joined with the cooking example at hand. she interrupted her best chapter, about the lobsters, with a story about being home for christmas and finding out that her best friend wants to have an affair with a punk rocker from bath. every successive example of seriously good writing was similarly misspent. her chapter about preparing to cook for a food reporter--interrupted. her chapter about the final month of the Project--scattered to the winds. and above all, she doesn't write enough about the food, which is what i really wanted to hear. yes, i sympathize about her government-secretary-syndrome, but i don't want to hear abotu how your day sucked, i want to hear about cooking that day's recipe and how it affected your day. were you mad while you were shopping? did the recipe turn out? what, for heaven's sake, were you even making? how far into the Project are you? (these tidbits were scattered across the chapter heads, but there was nothing more specific than that) her writing lacked the consideration, the sensuality, even the day-to-day rhythm of, say, nigel slater's kitchen diaries. he made everything sound sexy. even the recipes that failed were still fantastic to read about. it made me think about how incorporate food and cooking into my daily life and how shopping for lunch can be a hassle, but it can also be the highlight of your day. nigel made the food sound sexy. julie talks about how cooking ruined her sex life. enough said, right?

  2. 5 out of 5

    Petra X

    I can see how this book was a successful blog. It's more a series of snacks than a grand a la carte meal in a French restaurant. The author's endless repetition of her hatred for Republicans, her job as a secretary and the use of her favourite words fuck and suck, neither of them used sexually, probably give you the flavour of this slight one-note book. A snarky, sarky, endlessly-whining personality that is amusing to read on a daily blog, gets a bit much in a full-length book. Reading it is a b I can see how this book was a successful blog. It's more a series of snacks than a grand a la carte meal in a French restaurant. The author's endless repetition of her hatred for Republicans, her job as a secretary and the use of her favourite words fuck and suck, neither of them used sexually, probably give you the flavour of this slight one-note book. A snarky, sarky, endlessly-whining personality that is amusing to read on a daily blog, gets a bit much in a full-length book. Reading it is a bit like having to eat all your meals at McDonalds every day from Sunday for a week. By Wednesday, you'd long for a salad and maybe a refreshing sorbet, but it would yet another ersatz burger with underdone and slightly wilted fries. Julia Child is, for non-Americans, not much more than a name than some people might recognise but the imagined episodes of her life in the book are teasing and delicious. She was a very unusual woman, far more interesting than the author herself but the author wrote about her well. Therein lies hope. If Julie Powell can write this well when not writing about herself, then maybe there will be other, non-autobiographical books in the future. Meanwhile I look forward to the non-pareil acting of Meryl Streep to illuminate both Julia Child and the film way above the standard of the book. An addendum. I used to belong to a private group on GR of women trying to lose weight. They were all American. They HATED this book with a passion, I mean more than a passion. They wanted the author punished and no one to stock her books and everyone to 1-star her. What was her crime? She was a Democrat. I stood up for her because I am not an American and I don't know much details about internal American politics, nor do I care. You don't get the same strength of feeling in the UK about who is Labour and who is Tory, so I don't even really understand it. Anyway they threw me out and all of them banned me! (One later wrote in an IM to the mod of a private group that I was a whore who had lived with two men at the same time. The mod thought it was funny. It was true, except I'm not a whore, but they were in different countries.) Now strangely, not long after this I was friendly and in a secret group with another set of Americans. All Democrats. There were problems over the same book. They all wanted me to agree that Republicans were the devil's spawn. The only man in the group took me to task about defending evil Republicans. They threw me out too. I wasn't respectful enough to the guy apparently. Oh. Right. There you go. These two events hurt me so much that I had to console myself with several bars of chocolate and a whole evening of Masterchef. And rereading and editing this review again, I am still so distraught that I am going to have to finish the bottle of chocolate Baileys and hope I feel better then. Kind of rewritten 4 Jan 2016

  3. 4 out of 5

    La Petite Américaine

    Author Julia Powell is a mix of many people. From page one, when she tells us she sold her own eggs to pay off credit debt, she is much like the dreaded person seated next to you on a long-haul flight that proceeds to tell you their life story in a matter of minutes. She is also the TMI girl that we all know, whose narrative describes the smell of her burps and piss, bitches incessantly about her job and Republicans, describes smelly cocks, drinks too many cocktails, tells us she sleeps with her Author Julia Powell is a mix of many people. From page one, when she tells us she sold her own eggs to pay off credit debt, she is much like the dreaded person seated next to you on a long-haul flight that proceeds to tell you their life story in a matter of minutes. She is also the TMI girl that we all know, whose narrative describes the smell of her burps and piss, bitches incessantly about her job and Republicans, describes smelly cocks, drinks too many cocktails, tells us she sleeps with her face on her husband's ass, says fuck every other word and undoubtedly finds herself witty and funny while being oblivious to the gaping jaws and cringes of those around her. She smacks and insults her loving and patient husband while contemplating cheating on him and living vicariously through her slutty friends, both single and married. (I smell a divorce cooking.) In short, she is the loud girl we all wish would shut the fuck up. She also started a year-long cooking/blog project -- an idea given to her and set up by the very husband she treats like garbage -- to cook every recipe from Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. She proceeds to alter and screw up recipes, partly due to their difficulty, partly due to her bad planning, and mostly due to her own stupidity: i.e., boning a fowl isn't that difficult so stop stressing about it; why don't you try asking the butcher if he can slice the bone marrow for you instead of trying it yourself and making a disgusting mess?; please don't tell us about getting lobster meat out with a tweezer. We are, of course, supposed to laugh at this and find it all funny. Ha. Ha. As she embarked on this culinary journey, I couldn't help but remember that she'd mentioned having three cats and a python, and being disgusted that this was the environment in which she'd be cooking. But no worries. She will of course tell us about the cat hair in the kitchen and in the food, along with the dead mice for her snake shoved in the same bag as her cooking ingredients. And the vegetables falling on the rotted out kitchen floor, which she naturally picks up and throws into the pot. And the flies in her kitchen. That lead her to find the maggots. In her kitchen. Yummy. Julie ends up getting lots of media attention, a big blog following, a book/movie deal out of the whole thing. An ignorant reader like myself gains a new appreciation for the complexity of Julia Child's recipes and something like (but not quite) admiration for the author actually going through with cooking every recipe in the book. This will not go on my "sucked" shelf, as is certainly didn't suck. I give it one star for being very readable and for being a somewhat touching story of how one nobody became somebody all by herself. I simply didn't like her tone. I just couldn't take it. I hear she has a sequel coming out next month, this time about being a butcher. Would I read it? Absolutely. Not because I want to read about her mutilating dead animals and describing even more bodily functions we don't need to know about. Really, I'm dying to know if she divorces that kind husband who was by her side the whole time. I'm betting she did.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Madeline

    In the immortal words of Michael Bluth: "I don't know what I expected." I knew what I was getting into with this, I really did. It is a well-documented fact that Julie Powell is a delusional asshole (if you need a good laugh, look at the reviews for Cleaving, her second book - they all essentially boil down to "Wow, so turns out Julie Powell is horrible"), and even if I hadn't been aware of this, there's the fact that whenever I watch the movie adaptation of Julie and Julia, I skip the Julie part In the immortal words of Michael Bluth: "I don't know what I expected." I knew what I was getting into with this, I really did. It is a well-documented fact that Julie Powell is a delusional asshole (if you need a good laugh, look at the reviews for Cleaving, her second book - they all essentially boil down to "Wow, so turns out Julie Powell is horrible"), and even if I hadn't been aware of this, there's the fact that whenever I watch the movie adaptation of Julie and Julia, I skip the Julie parts because even Amy Adams, who is literal human sunshine, cannot make that woman appealing in any sense of the word. Actually, the whole reason I decided to get this book from the library is because the movie was on TV the other day, and I got morbidly curious about Julie Powell's side of the story. I had already read Julia Child's My Life in France, which was the inspiration for the Julia parts of the movie, so I decided that it only made sense to complete the experience and read Powell's book. Powell wastes no time letting her readers know exactly what kind of monster she is. On page eight (Eight! We're not even into the double-digit pages yet!) we get to see Powell's version of an Oprah "Ah-ha moment." I mentioned this in one of my status updates already, but I feel it's important that I fully explain this scene. Basically, Powell is waiting in the subway one day and witnesses: "...a plug of a woman, her head of salt-and-pepper hair shorn into the sort of crew cut they give the mentally disabled, who had plopped down on the concrete directly behind me. ...The loon started smacking her forehead with the heel of her palm. 'Fuck!' she yelled. 'Fuck! FUCK!' ...The loon placed both palms down on the concrete in front of her and - CRACK! - smacked her forehead hard on the ground. ...It was only once I was in the car, squeezed in shoulder to shoulder, the lot of us hanging by one hand from the overhead bar like slaughtered cows on the trundling train, that it came to me - as if some omnipotent God of City Dwellers were whispering the truth in my ear - that the only two reasons I hadn't joined right in with the loon with the gray crew cut, beating my head and screaming 'Fuck!' in primal syncopation, were (1) I'd be embarrassed and (2) I didn't want to get my cute vintage suit any dirtier than it already was. Performance anxiety and a dry-cleaning bill; those were the only things keeping me from stark raving lunacy." So in addition to being an asshole, Julie Powell also might be a sociopath, because who does that? How much of a selfish, raging narcissist do you have to become in order to watch what is clearly a mentally ill person having a disturbing episode, and your first response is, "Ugh, same"?! And then you record the scene in your memoir and frame it as some kind of profound breakthrough moment for you? Gee, I'm so glad that person had a mental breakdown and seriously injured themselves so you could have an epiphany, Julie Powell. (you may be wondering: how does this experience lead to Powell deciding to cook her way through Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking? I read the damn book and I couldn't even tell you.) So anyway, Powell starts working her way through Julia Child's cookbook, keeping a blog about her progress. (This means we get a delightfully dated scene where Powell's husband suggests she start a blog, and Julie's like, what the hell is a blog? 2002 was a simpler time.) As many reviewers have pointed out, the blog-to-memoir transition was done pretty clumsily, with scenes happening out of sequence and a nonsensical structure - Powell will start a chapter about some recipe she was working on, and then break for a lengthy flashback that has almost no relation to the beginning of the chapter. It's very difficult to follow the progress she's making through the cookbook, and all the flashbacks and timeline-skipping meant that I never had any clear idea of where I was in the project, unless Powell directly referenced the date. Along with the messy structure, another big issue with the book is that Powell is...not a great writer. She's clearly trying to be self-depreciating, and make us think that she's rolling her eyes right along with us whenever we read a scene of her throwing a tantrum about mayonnaise - but the problem is that I wasn't shaking my head and smiling in bemusement, like Powell wants me to. I was just thinking, "you are horrible, and telling me that you know you're being horrible doesn't help." Powell doesn't have the writing skill to redeem herself in the narrative, and on top of that, her prose is often practically unreadable. Try this excerpt on for size, and see if it makes any goddamn sense to you on the first reading: "My mother is a clean freak, my father a dirty bird, semi-reformed. Between them, they have managed to raise one child who by all accounts could not care less about basic cleanliness, but whose environs and person are always somehow above reproach, and another child who sees as irrevocable humiliation any imputation of less than impeccable housekeeping or hygiene, and yet, regardless of near-constant near-hysteria on the subject, is almost always an utter mess." Well, now I guess we know what it would sound like if Charlotte Bronte wrote all her books drunk. It made me long for the effortless, evocative writing Julia Child presented in My Life in France - her description of the proper technique for scrambling eggs is practically poetry. And that is what really sets Julie Powell apart from Julia Child: Child loved to cook, and Powell does not. Her project, and every recipe she describes, are never presented as anything other than a chore she has to get through. There is no joy in Powell's book, no love for the dishes she prepares. And frankly, a lot of Powell's book is pretty gross. Her kitchen is always a disaster scene, with dirty surfaces and piles of unwashed dishes. Which, fine - you're working a full-time job and cooking gourmet meals every night, obviously you're going to slack off on cleaning again. But then Powell discovers that there are maggots living under her dish rack, and I was fucking done. With Julie and Julia, Julie Powell has managed to do the unthinkable: she wrote a cooking memoir that didn't make me feel hungry, not once in three hundred pages. I'm pretty sure that's a capital offense in some countries.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I love the concept, I really do; not so much the finished product. Had she not made the fuuny reference to my favorite line in Casablanca near the begininning of the book, I never would have been able to finish it. The thought of finding another gem like that made me stick with it even when I wanted to throw Julie out of a twenty-story window. The whiny, self-absorbed, melodramtic, narcissistic, trite (yet on occasion deliciously funny) Julie Powell decides to take up a project to add meaning to I love the concept, I really do; not so much the finished product. Had she not made the fuuny reference to my favorite line in Casablanca near the begininning of the book, I never would have been able to finish it. The thought of finding another gem like that made me stick with it even when I wanted to throw Julie out of a twenty-story window. The whiny, self-absorbed, melodramtic, narcissistic, trite (yet on occasion deliciously funny) Julie Powell decides to take up a project to add meaning to her life, or at least to distract herself from dealing with it: She decides that she is going to cook every single recipe in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking and that she is going to do it in the time span of a year. Julie never mentions how many hours she actually works in a week at her "oh pity me, the lowly secretary who still makes enough money to live in New York and buy enough food to cook every single recipe in the Julia Child MtAoFC cookbook" job, but I honestly have a very difficult time believing that she worked full time, commuted, did the grocery shopping, cooked every single recipe in the book, wrote a blog, and yet still had time to watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer. (I mean, really, does anyone that gave this book five stars actually cook?!?) She does make the point very clear that she didn't clean at all that year. And she did allow herself to gain an untold amount of weight rather than work out. I suppose that gave her a little extra time to devote to this project. And on top of all that she expected her husband and her friends to support her insanity, wholeheartedly and unabashedly. Eric should have kept a blog for the year about putting up with Julie! For a book about cooking, there is a sad lack of description regarding the various recipes. Sure, she does go into detail about excavating bone marrow and dismembering lobsters, but what about the food? I didn't get the impression that she actually loves food so much as that she has a gluttonous relationship to it. Don't want to deal with your feelings? That's okay, just stuff them down with extremely high fat foods and ignore the consequences. I have no patience for this sort of self defeatist behavior; the average overweight american who refuses to take responsibility for their own health and instead assumes a false sense of pride over being carefree about their food choices. And then just accepts a dependence upon pharmaceuticals to manage the ill effects. Is it really any wonder that heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States? This may have been an entertaining blog, but the "My bleaders like me, they really like me!" tone did not translate very well into a book. If you have any interest whatsoever in her story, save yourself the money (and grief) of reading this book and just read her blog [http://blogs.salon.com/0001399/2002/0...]

  6. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    Completely and utterly disappointing. I was so in love with the idea that Julie came up with: to recreate each of the 524 recipes in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I never had read her blog before, and my expectations for the book were high. Unfortunately, Julie is a completely repulsive, unappealing and vulgar human being. Her self-deprecating - humor, was it? - didn't make me find her charmingly witty; rather, I just believed what she was telling me and decided that she was i Completely and utterly disappointing. I was so in love with the idea that Julie came up with: to recreate each of the 524 recipes in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I never had read her blog before, and my expectations for the book were high. Unfortunately, Julie is a completely repulsive, unappealing and vulgar human being. Her self-deprecating - humor, was it? - didn't make me find her charmingly witty; rather, I just believed what she was telling me and decided that she was in fact the most disgusting person alive. The fact that she keeps her crappy apartment in filthy, squalor-like conditions (she had maggots growing in the kitchen that she was theoretically using on a daily basis) kinda made me want to throw up. If it hadn't been for my fascination with food and my love of Julia Child, I would have stopped reading (which is pretty rare for me). The book isn't even about the cooking or Julia, not really, anyway. It's instead just a new platform for Julie to continue with her self-indulgent blogging.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan

    I read The Scavengers Guide to Haute Cuisine, and I really liked it. I figured this book would be along the same lines. Yeah, well, it wasn't. Instead of a book about cooking, it was a book about a whiny, pseudo-intellectual woman who tries to cook because her life is otherwise crappy. Please tell me how cooking an entire Julia Child cookbook will improve your life. Actually, don't, because that is the premise for this book and it sucked. Oh, and reading about her husband was cringe-worthy. This I read The Scavengers Guide to Haute Cuisine, and I really liked it. I figured this book would be along the same lines. Yeah, well, it wasn't. Instead of a book about cooking, it was a book about a whiny, pseudo-intellectual woman who tries to cook because her life is otherwise crappy. Please tell me how cooking an entire Julia Child cookbook will improve your life. Actually, don't, because that is the premise for this book and it sucked. Oh, and reading about her husband was cringe-worthy. This wimp drinks vodka tonics, gets shaving tips from gq, and has regular, uncontrollable vomiting episodes. Hey guy, maybe when your balls finally descend from your body cavity you can write a book about that. Then both you and your wife can have lame books published. For the sake of fair reviewing, I only made it through just over half of this before I became too repulsed to read on. So maybe it turns out awesome. Maybe she gets all the recipes cooked. Maybe her husband and her friends actually become interesting. I guess I'll never find out, because I know I'd derive ten times more entertainment from smelling my fingers than I would by finishing this book.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ari

    Oh Jesus. Bear with me because this is going to be long. Mrs. Julie Powell. The woman, the legend. The horror tale. The first thing you have to know about her is; she's not like other women, she reads books. According to that logic, this entire website constitutes an anomaly in the Venn diagram of women everywhere, so take that as you will. She's one of the most self-absorbed people I've ever had the displeasure of coming in contact with - and on top of that she's a disgusting slob. Powell repeate Oh Jesus. Bear with me because this is going to be long. Mrs. Julie Powell. The woman, the legend. The horror tale. The first thing you have to know about her is; she's not like other women, she reads books. According to that logic, this entire website constitutes an anomaly in the Venn diagram of women everywhere, so take that as you will. She's one of the most self-absorbed people I've ever had the displeasure of coming in contact with - and on top of that she's a disgusting slob. Powell repeatedly talks (at length) about the poor state of the house, what with cat hairs everywhere, thick layers of dust on everything, fleets of flies, maggots in the kitchen where you're cooking on a daily basis, but God forbid she actually does something about it. Besides whining, that is. And no, "after a year of this, part of you just assumes there's gotta be some maggots somewhere around" is not an excuse for your kitchen being a health hazard. Now, I don't know about Long Island, but I live in a 40 sq ft flat straight out of a Polly Pocket rejected concept and I have never had a problem keeping the bloody kitchen clean. Even with pets around. In the end (and I mean the end as in the actual end, after a year of not tidying up) it's her husband who cleans the entire flat after one of her fits. I feel so sorry for that man because "[...] on the second-to-last day of a year of torture imposed on the man you love, you scream and throw things and call him an idiot, and instead of slamming the front door in your face [...] he cleans the house while you nap." Amazing. I don't mind her language but the melodrama gets old real quick. If you have issues cutting the marrow then plan ahead and ask the butcher. They're there for a reason. If you're having trouble with the mayonnaise then maybe read the whole recipe beforehand instead of just tossing everything into a bowl hoping for a miracle. Seriously, this is one of the things that bothered me the most; she never actually planned anything. She repeatedly mucks up recipes because apparently she's never read them in advance. We're talking about 5-pages recipes that she just decides to go ahead and try without a bit of preparation. That's unfathomable to me. On top of that she consistently treats her husband like utter garbage, consistently talks shit about her "friends," turning them into the butt of a joke or a misguided moral of the story: "look, I'm messed up but at least I'm not the 24-year-old having sex with the married Cali guy!". She hops on the highest of horses and judges this friend of hers, Isabel, who decides to divorce her husband after falling in love with and English guitarist. This after consistently mistreating her own husband and entertaining herself with the idea of adultery (the entire David-Strathairn-seducing made me feel so uncomfortable I had to put the book down for a minute). Funniest thing: apparently, after publishing this first book (because yes, she somehow got a deal for another one), she had an affair that lasted two years and was chronicled in her second book. Which. Alright. You're no paragon of virtue, either. Quite the opposite, in fact. Maybe you should shut your trap and stop judging literally every single one of your "friends". If you still have them. She keeps tracing this line between herself - The Democrat - and everyone else at work - The Republicans - and then proceeds to write some of the most asinine, racist, prejudiced, misogynistic sentences. And, just in case you'd forgotten how thoroughly American something can be, Powell makes sure to remind you every four pages or so that every other place is a Barbaric Wasteland light years behind, and America is the Only Land worth living in. Which sure dampens my European spirits when all I was expecting from this book was a fun light read about cooking and living. But no. Racial stereotypes and prejudices abound. There's the veiled daughter of a bedouin, the ancient Japanese sex position, the bigoted Sicilian women who cross themselves every time they see Julie's red-headed brother, there's the Hungarian policeman who steals money from tourists, the cannibal Germans, kinky Asian euphemisms for watersports, repressed Islamic societies --- oh, and did I mention the gas chamber jokes? Right when I thought it couldn't get any worse. And let's not forget about the rape jokes, because those are always so much fun and I wouldn't want to miss out. If you're wondering why I haven't talked about cooking, it's because there's not much cooking in this book. Sure, Powell spends quite some time in the kitchen, but she barely cooks. She yells, she cries, she throws things, she slams pans and pots on the counter top, she breaks kitchen utensils. "How One Girl Risked Her Marriage, Her Job, and Her Sanity" is not an hyperbole. Powell actually has no chill, and the last place she should spend time in is the kitchen.

  9. 4 out of 5

    D

    Julie disappointed me. Her tone was tired (I've rassled too many self-loathing Gen Xers who think that airing their dirty laundry is fresh and shocking; it's not; ever heard of reality TV? it's merely degrading; if it's dime-store therapy you're seeking via the blogosphere, good luck getting stable, coherent advice from your comments section). Additionally, she thought insulting her husband was funny, admitting to maggots under her dish drainer a good romp, and marital infidelity blase'. I have Julie disappointed me. Her tone was tired (I've rassled too many self-loathing Gen Xers who think that airing their dirty laundry is fresh and shocking; it's not; ever heard of reality TV? it's merely degrading; if it's dime-store therapy you're seeking via the blogosphere, good luck getting stable, coherent advice from your comments section). Additionally, she thought insulting her husband was funny, admitting to maggots under her dish drainer a good romp, and marital infidelity blase'. I have a hard time imagining how I would ever like her in person. I certainly don't in print. By the end, though, when she finds out that Julia Child doesn't like her, I felt sorry for her. And she's not a total loss---she worships Buffy the Vampire Slayer *almost* as much as I do. I get the impression that when she undertook the project Julie was a deeply depressed girl who was trying to lose herself in the details of the challenge. Frankly, it reminds me of Eat, Pray, Love in that regard. (Find yourself, eat great food, AND get a book deal out of it!) But she failed to evidence significant questioning or growth. Perhaps she was unprepared to vigorously grapple with the process. Perhaps she was too lazy. Perhaps her writing was too poor to convey overreaching change. But, then, what's the point of the book?

  10. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    I think there's an unfortunate trend that people follow these days, particularly women, to verbally criticize themselves in a hyper self-aware manner, as if recounting all of their faults (real or imagined)will not only amuse the listener, but prove that they are stoic-even good humored-about being the biggest, fattest, ugliest, ding battiest failures to ever grace the earth. "Doesn't he get it? Doesn't he understand that if I don't get through the whole book in a year then this whole thing will I think there's an unfortunate trend that people follow these days, particularly women, to verbally criticize themselves in a hyper self-aware manner, as if recounting all of their faults (real or imagined)will not only amuse the listener, but prove that they are stoic-even good humored-about being the biggest, fattest, ugliest, ding battiest failures to ever grace the earth. "Doesn't he get it? Doesn't he understand that if I don't get through the whole book in a year then this whole thing will have been a waste, that I'm going to spiral into mediocrity and despair and probably wind up on the street trading blow jobs for crack or something? He hates me, anyway. Look at him, curled over on his side of the bed like he doesn't want to so much as touch me. It's because I've got the stink of failure on me. I'm doomed..." Now I like a little self-deprecation every now and again, but this book is founded entirely on the author's insecurities, which are mostly unfounded. The books foundation is rocky to say the least. This is clearly a bright woman and obviously very few people think they are the most abhorrent human being alive or the mortality rate in our society would sky rocket, so why bother with all of the abuse? She doesn't need it-her prose are clever and deliberate, and all of this "I hate myself" crap really clouds what she is trying to say. Perhaps it's because she based this book on her blog, which REALLY lends itself to this kind of meta humor, but I'm sooooo sick of it. Go read about fistula in Africa and then tell me how depressed you are because you're making your own life miserable. Bah!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lena

    There are some inspired moments in Julie Powell’s memoir of the year she spent cooking all 524 recipes in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Powell can be a very funny writer, and the book is sprinkled with abundant samples of the snarky wit that no doubt made the blog on which this book was based so popular. Her topic is certainly a rich one—the processes of making gelatin from actual calves’ feet or flaying a lobster alive while feeling a generous dose of liberal guilt certainl There are some inspired moments in Julie Powell’s memoir of the year she spent cooking all 524 recipes in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Powell can be a very funny writer, and the book is sprinkled with abundant samples of the snarky wit that no doubt made the blog on which this book was based so popular. Her topic is certainly a rich one—the processes of making gelatin from actual calves’ feet or flaying a lobster alive while feeling a generous dose of liberal guilt certainly offer many opportunities for colorful commentary. Despite Powell’s detail in discussing some of her greatest disasters while cooking from Childs’ book, she spends significantly less time on general food writing than you’d expect given the theme. This not so much a sensual celebration of food as it is the diary of a frustrated New York secretary who spent a year cooking like a madwoman. While some of Powell’s digressions away from her kitchen are entertaining, others seem widely off-topic and detract from the book’s focus. Still, the book is generally pretty readable, though I did struggle at times with Powell’s tone. Her sharp sense of humor is not always enough to balance out her frequent griping as she struggles to complete her task while simultaneously working in a government office run by (gasp!) Republicans. While it was interesting to read how the popularity of her blog snowballed into national news coverage and a book deal, the book ultimately left me with little understanding of how the alchemy of the cooking process worked its magic on the author itself. Except, of course, for all the swearing it made her do.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Firecooked

    The book is written by Julie Powell, about her 1 year self-imposed challenge to cook everything in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of Fine Cooking. The project was motivated by feeling stuck in her job (a low level drone in a government office) as well as rebellion towards the whole Alice Waters, locovore, trendy foodie things. I instantly connected with the author – she was a Buffy the Vampire fan (the blog was going on during the last season), found the act of preparing food very sensual, and The book is written by Julie Powell, about her 1 year self-imposed challenge to cook everything in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of Fine Cooking. The project was motivated by feeling stuck in her job (a low level drone in a government office) as well as rebellion towards the whole Alice Waters, locovore, trendy foodie things. I instantly connected with the author – she was a Buffy the Vampire fan (the blog was going on during the last season), found the act of preparing food very sensual, and was trying to figure out what to do next with her life. The book is very entertaining, mixing stories about Julie Child and stories of her own family in with the trials of cooking the recipes (including treks to find bone marrow, brains and other offal). Her husband Eric is portrayed as a saint, her friends are nuts. Its fun to read. But what really struck me was not the challenge of cooking, but the blogging. In addition to cooking every recipe, she blogged about everything she cooked. I went on-line and looked at some of the blogs. She blogged almost every day, and not just “I checked Filets to Poisson en Souffle off the list, didn’t puff but tasted good”… no, she went into details about procuring the ingredients, the moods of her husband, her cats, occasional Buffy references, how the food was prepared, what worked, what tasted good, and what didn’t. And it was entertaining… she had a huge following (after a while, she set up a way people could donate money to help buy lamb and more butter to keep the project going – and they did). She never talks about the challenges of blogging in the book.. things I find really hard, like making it witty (but not contrived), not offending others (however, that New York thing probably helps here), how personal to get, making a good story but not going on and on, punctuation and grammar good enough to make it readable. It has a happy ending, she found her real calling as a writer.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I have a love/hate relationship with this book. I love the concept- the story of the author working her way through Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking one recipe at a time, skipping nothing. At its root it's a true life adventure- something I can experience vicariously. On the other hand, sometimes the execution is flawed. (I *really* didn't want to know about the maggot infestation in the author's kitchen, I know my kitchen isn't perfectly hygenic. But maggots under the dish drai I have a love/hate relationship with this book. I love the concept- the story of the author working her way through Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking one recipe at a time, skipping nothing. At its root it's a true life adventure- something I can experience vicariously. On the other hand, sometimes the execution is flawed. (I *really* didn't want to know about the maggot infestation in the author's kitchen, I know my kitchen isn't perfectly hygenic. But maggots under the dish drainer? Ewww eww eww!) As the book wears on, the story becomes less and less about the cooking and more and more about the how much the author hates her government job and her small apartment, the plumbing catastrophes that regularly happein in said apartment and the cast of kooky friends that drop in regularly. Knowing that the book started out as a blog makes the prose a little more forgivable. Although the book is NOT written in "blog form", I can see where the narrative would have worked well when it was a blog. It's obvious the author felt the need to pad the story a bit to make it in full-length book, which I don't think was totally necessary. The filler it just that- filler. The author supposedly had a multi book deal now. The problem is that I don't know if I would ever read another book by her. Maybe if she came up with another great concept.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    Julie Powell was a 29 year-old temp living in the outer boroughs and suffering from late-20s ennui and the kind of despair that comes from hating your career and thinking you should have done more with yourself by now. To give herself a goal - something I can very much sympathize with - she decided she would make all 524 recipes in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking in one year. She also started a blog to chronicle her (mis)adventures. This book is an outgrowth of that experienc Julie Powell was a 29 year-old temp living in the outer boroughs and suffering from late-20s ennui and the kind of despair that comes from hating your career and thinking you should have done more with yourself by now. To give herself a goal - something I can very much sympathize with - she decided she would make all 524 recipes in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking in one year. She also started a blog to chronicle her (mis)adventures. This book is an outgrowth of that experience. From the start I saw some crazy parallels to that book that so gets the bile rising in my throat - Eat Pray Love. Turns out, Liz Gilbert was actually a mentor and reviewer of Powell's book. Both are white, middle-class women who can turn a phrase who decided to add meaning to their chaotic lives by creating wildly over-structured plans of action. On the one hand, Julie Powell is probably more likeable than Liz - more honest in her self-deprecation, and more charming in her witty cynicism. Point for Julie. On the other hand, Julie's book structure did not work as well as Liz's, though it pains me to say. The book read a lot like a blog that had been sloppily edited into a book. I appreciated Julie's honesty about her temper, her relationship with her husband, and her struggles with despair - she came off, to me, as a sympathetic protagonist. But on the other hand, her honesty tended to feel overboard and often, added for shock value. I could give a f*** about her potty mouth - hello have you met me? - but I would have loved to have been spared the details about her absolutely filthy apartment and questionable sanitary habits, for example. Probably the biggest problem with the book is that it was marketed as a book about cooking, when in fact it was just a relatively shallow autobiography with few larger lessons or takeaway points. It was an average, semi-well-spoken woman's memoir as she approaches the age of 30. I know about 100 ennui-suffering, confused, smart, well-spoken gals hovering around the 30-range; why am I reading Julie Powell's story and not theirs? I would imagine, moreover, that the foodies who picked up this book were PISSED about the lack of attention given to the cooking process and the food, and about the over-attention given to Julie's feelings, mood swings, and tendency toward TMI.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Diane

    Saw the movie - had to read the book. So far, I have my reservations, but I'm not very far in yet. I read a few more chapters and gave up. The author rambles - and not in a good way. I could not work up any interest in the folks in the book - just didn't care what they did next. Combine that with the author's potty mouth, and it's back to the Library to find a book worth reading - maybe Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child. This is one of those rare examples of the movie being a lot Saw the movie - had to read the book. So far, I have my reservations, but I'm not very far in yet. I read a few more chapters and gave up. The author rambles - and not in a good way. I could not work up any interest in the folks in the book - just didn't care what they did next. Combine that with the author's potty mouth, and it's back to the Library to find a book worth reading - maybe Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child. This is one of those rare examples of the movie being a lot better than the book.

  16. 4 out of 5

    JSou

    I must've really needed this kind of book right about now. I bought it about a year ago when I saw it on the B&N clearance table, but then shelved it. I've actually been hearing a lot about it lately (I'm sure because of the upcoming film), so I figured I'd give it a shot. I loved this. I really couldn't put it down. Reading through the author's experiences as she cooks through Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking reminded me of how delicious and sometimes therapeutic cooking a h I must've really needed this kind of book right about now. I bought it about a year ago when I saw it on the B&N clearance table, but then shelved it. I've actually been hearing a lot about it lately (I'm sure because of the upcoming film), so I figured I'd give it a shot. I loved this. I really couldn't put it down. Reading through the author's experiences as she cooks through Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking reminded me of how delicious and sometimes therapeutic cooking a home-made meal from scratch can be. Though honestly, I can never imagine myself boning a duck, cutting apart and boiling a live lobster, extracting bone marrow, or making a gelee' out of calves' hooves (WTF?) I could relate to Julie Powell's story, in a way. Though I'm *coughcoughoverthirtycoughcough*, I could sympathize with her being kind of stuck in a dead-end, crappy job. But hey, I've got kids, you sometimes gotta do what you gotta do, right? Favorite quote: "Oh, God. It really was true, wasn't it? I really was a secretary." I'm almost embarrassed to say that this book inspired me. Did you know Julia Child didn't even learn to cook until she was 37? I had no clue. It kind of showed me it's never too late to really find your passion, and do what you love to do. God, just typing that makes me feel so lame that I got that much out of this book, when a lot of the time, I'm admittedly pretty snarky...which leads me to another cool quote: "...hard-bitten cynicism leaves one feeling peevish, and too much of it can do lasting damage to your heart."

  17. 5 out of 5

    Stefani

    To me this is a book about finding sanity in structure. Julie doesn't know what to do with her life, so she manufactures a project... By completing at least one new recipe a day, and blogging about it, she finds herself so consumed that she has little time to obsess about her dead-end job, and her possible infertility. It reminds me a lot of "Rosemary Goes to the Mall," a podcast in which an art instructor makes a project of shopping from and getting a bag from every store in the Mall of America.. To me this is a book about finding sanity in structure. Julie doesn't know what to do with her life, so she manufactures a project... By completing at least one new recipe a day, and blogging about it, she finds herself so consumed that she has little time to obsess about her dead-end job, and her possible infertility. It reminds me a lot of "Rosemary Goes to the Mall," a podcast in which an art instructor makes a project of shopping from and getting a bag from every store in the Mall of America... A pretty good read... a little embarrassing in the way that I can understand and identify with Julie. She says fuck a lot. She is sarcastic, sometimes mean...her husband is incredibly supportive, as are her friends... It is a reflection of "us" - my friends, my urban age group...

  18. 5 out of 5

    Miriam

    I wanted to like this but Julie Powell just wouldn't let me. Her constant whining and neurotic, self-absorbed personality so grated on me that they undermined the aspects of the book that did appeal to me: cooking and humor. I don't even want to see the movie after reading this, although I do still want to read My Life in France.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Saleh MoonWalker

    Onvan : Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen: How One Girl Risked Her Marriage, Her Job, and Her Sanity to Master the Art of Living - Nevisande : Julie Powell - ISBN : 031610969X - ISBN13 : 9780316109697 - Dar 310 Safhe - Saal e Chap : 2005

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lucy

    For a few months there, it seemed like everyone was reading this book. Then, just as suddenly, everyone was going to the movie. And liking it! I wasn't tempted to do either, and felt a bit out-of-sorts being so out of vogue. Still, I knew I didn't care to read about a woman who had tried all of Julia Child's recipes found in "Mastering the Art of French Cooking." Frankly, french cooking turns me off and besides watching Dan Aykroyd satire Julia Child on Saturday Night Live, I didn't really know For a few months there, it seemed like everyone was reading this book. Then, just as suddenly, everyone was going to the movie. And liking it! I wasn't tempted to do either, and felt a bit out-of-sorts being so out of vogue. Still, I knew I didn't care to read about a woman who had tried all of Julia Child's recipes found in "Mastering the Art of French Cooking." Frankly, french cooking turns me off and besides watching Dan Aykroyd satire Julia Child on Saturday Night Live, I didn't really know much about the famous chef either. When this book showed up in my mailbox as part of a long-distance book club I joined, destiny laughed in my face at my attempt to snub a popular book. So I read it. Turns out, my first instinct was the right one. Julie & I (did you see what I did there? Huh? Clever, eh?), the woman who fundamentally hates republicans, seems to have little respect for a husband who amazingly seems to respect her, and who can't seem to formulate a sentence without flaunting her I-will-throw-in-the-F-bomb-anytime-I-feel-like-it mentality, would not get along. While we both like to blog, and probably both imagine ourselves to be a lot more important than we actually are, we have very little common ground. For some very undeveloped reason, she begins an obsessive journey to cook all of the hundreds of recipes found in Child's recipe book within the time frame of one year. Never mind that it means she will have to eat things she finds disgusting, feed meals to her friends, family and husband that they find disgusting, and spend money she doesn't have on ingredients she can't find - she apparently just has to do it! Lucky for her, her meaningless obsession turned into a lucrative book deal and even more lucrative movie deal. We should all be so rewarded for focusing the majority of our time and energy on something that benefits so few, if any. I think, however, that because her story got made into a book, and, crazily, a movie with huge movie stars, her experience was validated as meaning something. It changed her. I guess. Gave her something to proudly say she accomplished. I guess. Gave her free range to cuss and cuss at anyone who minded that she cussed. Definitely. O.K. I'll admit it - her tacky swearing in print annoyed me. Why in the world would someone writing a memoir, with time and a thesaurus and editors on hand, choose to use such a trashy and limited vocabulary in something that will last well beyond their own short life? I get it in novels. Some characters think and speak like that. I even get it in non-fiction. Hey, much of life is R-rated. But, in a memoir? In a I'm-a-pretty-funny-lady memoir? That's the word you want to use when you have time and plenty of alternatives available? In the end, I just wanted it to end. I wanted to know how and if all the eggs and cream and butter and bone marrow mattered. They don't. I was tired of reading about her messy and absolutely nauseating kitchen (maggots, people. Maggots.) I was really, really tired of Julie. Not Julia, because she's hardly in the book, but Julie. That last page, which took awhile to get to after a couple of cruel false endings, couldn't come quick enough. I still haven't seen the movie. I've heard it is better than the book. But, I'm weary and untrusting now. Meryl and Amy might manage to salvage this story, but I'll never know because I'm not going to succumb a second time. Once was enough.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    I watched the movie when it came out, but I had to read this after getting Mastering the Art of French Cooking for Christmas this year and diving into Julia's recipes. After perusing the cookbook and seeing how many offal and aspic recipes there were as well as how maze-like the recipes are often written, I knew I had to read about someone else's experience with the cookbook. I can't believe Julie cooked all 500-something recipes in the book (AND in 1 year) because Julia lost me at offal and asp I watched the movie when it came out, but I had to read this after getting Mastering the Art of French Cooking for Christmas this year and diving into Julia's recipes. After perusing the cookbook and seeing how many offal and aspic recipes there were as well as how maze-like the recipes are often written, I knew I had to read about someone else's experience with the cookbook. I can't believe Julie cooked all 500-something recipes in the book (AND in 1 year) because Julia lost me at offal and aspic. So I definitely have respect for Julie's project. But I guess what ended up making this book less than stellar for me is just finding Julie's personality to be a little grating. The movie was certainly cast well with Amy Adams in the part because she does that type of personality well. I thought once about writing a cooking blog and calling it "The Clumsy Cook". But then I realized how pathetic that would sound. Yes, it's true that I once served my family stir fry with bits of a broken plate in it and that I ruined a flan by accidentally pouring a little water into the flan rather than into the water bath pan. Those were certainly cooking accidents to learn from (never assume that the plate that you broke near your food didn't end up in your food and always place flan into a water bath rather than filling up the water bath around it). But I'm not sure it's the best idea to highlight your cooking clumsiness, failures, and how angry you get at your food as your writing schtick even if it is entertaining. Perhaps it's good for a short laugh, but it eventually makes a writer sound pathetic and maybe a little manic. This is definitely so in Julie's case. I have to wonder if she truly is manic or if that's just the persona she put on for writing. On the other hand, I think I would have been equally annoyed to read about someone who tried cooking all 500-something recipes from Julia's cookbook with everything turning out picture perfect every time. That would be inhuman. Especially since some of Julia Child's recipes read like the inside of House of Leaves or a choose-your-own-adventure book where you have to keep flipping to other recipes which reference other recipes in order to cook one thing. My plans are to make Julia's favorite chocolate almond cake and her beef bourguignon this weekend. I think having read this book makes me want to approach these recipes not as recipes that must be tackled or surmounted, but as recipes that are accomplishable with patience and an eye (and mouth) to the delectable results. I did enjoy this book, but not nearly enough to call it great. Still, I'm glad I read it and glad that there was a movie version of it. I like that it exists to connect those other of us that have attempted to teach ourselves French cuisine by way of Julia Child ... and for those of us who have danced around our kitchens momentarily impersonating Julia Child with "a little wine for food and a little wine for the cook."

  22. 5 out of 5

    Wendy

    In order to give her life some definition,(and blinders to the onset of her 30th birthday) Julie Powell decides to cook every recipe from Julia Child's, Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volume One, within one year. She cooks everything from tarts to cow brains in her tiny New York apartment. The book reminded me of Bridget Jones meets, well, Julia Child. It is funny, interesting, and a little inspirational. She is candid with her personal life as well as with the results of what became the Ju In order to give her life some definition,(and blinders to the onset of her 30th birthday) Julie Powell decides to cook every recipe from Julia Child's, Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volume One, within one year. She cooks everything from tarts to cow brains in her tiny New York apartment. The book reminded me of Bridget Jones meets, well, Julia Child. It is funny, interesting, and a little inspirational. She is candid with her personal life as well as with the results of what became the Julie/Julia project (all documented on Blog of course). I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking to change the small stuff of their life, but always puts it on a to-do list. Beyond her humor, love for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and blogging obsession I admire the simplicity of her choice. As she explains (and demonstrates) in the book, simplicity does not equate easy. I am astounded with the magnitude of the response her project generated, and the impact it made on others. I am so glad I read this book! I felt like running out to buy copies for everyone I know as soon as I was finished reading. Just wonderful! (Written Thursday Jan. 24, 2008)

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    I had started poking around Julie Powell's blog rather late in the game of her writing it, so it was very hard to catch up with her adventures in cooking. I looked forward to the book, which I expected would tighten the diary structure and take us through a cohesive story. Boy, was I disappointed. This book is a mishmash of anecdotes about Julie Powell's life that spring off of her central narrative without rhyme or reason. I think I could forgive that, if they were interesting anecdotes, but the I had started poking around Julie Powell's blog rather late in the game of her writing it, so it was very hard to catch up with her adventures in cooking. I looked forward to the book, which I expected would tighten the diary structure and take us through a cohesive story. Boy, was I disappointed. This book is a mishmash of anecdotes about Julie Powell's life that spring off of her central narrative without rhyme or reason. I think I could forgive that, if they were interesting anecdotes, but they're mostly a strange combination of self-aggrandizing and self-deprecating. Powell talks about what a mess her apartment is, at the same time she pats herself on the back for being young and married. She touts her theater background (and a very strange story about making pie for David Straithairn, or wishing to make pie for him, I'm not really sure) at the same time she whines incessantly about her job. But the story of cooking through Julia Child is a lot of fun to read. I wish this book had focused on that, and the stories around shopping for, preparing, and serving those dishes, and less about Julie Powell, hipster blogger.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Wendy Darling

    Julia was a goddess among women. Julie...not so much.

  25. 5 out of 5

    J.P. Willson

    I have wanted to see the movie, Julie and Julia since it was released. I have not yet seen it. To be honest I had no idea what the movie was even about except for the fact it was in some way about Julia Child. I have adored Julia Child for a very long time so this is why I was drawn to the movie trailer. I am a red seal chef so there is another attraction right there. This book, I was not aware even existed till a few weeks ago. So I guess all can see the connection I would quite obviously have I have wanted to see the movie, Julie and Julia since it was released. I have not yet seen it. To be honest I had no idea what the movie was even about except for the fact it was in some way about Julia Child. I have adored Julia Child for a very long time so this is why I was drawn to the movie trailer. I am a red seal chef so there is another attraction right there. This book, I was not aware even existed till a few weeks ago. So I guess all can see the connection I would quite obviously have to this book also. Having said all of that, I may never see the movie now, I don't really need to. This is one of the funniest things I have read in a long time. Over the twenty-five years of my life spent as a practicing chef I have encountered some of the weirdest and strangest and completely bizarre things one could imagine so I was fully able to relate to all of the authors ups and downs throughout. I have a much better appreciation of the trials and tribulations of the task set forth in the premise here. The way the author describes how it is she works through some of those cooking faux pas's is hilarious. To say I can relate doesn't quite sum it up, but you get my meaning. It comes across to me that there was some sort of weird symbiosis between the author herself and Miss Child even though the two of them have never met. It was as if they could read each others thoughts in a way. I do talk to recipes as if I am talking to the person that penned it, so it was refreshing to see I was not the only one! One does not need to know how to cook to find this book a real gem of a read. Well written, funny and just a nice release from the daily grind. Highly recommended.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Andrea Homier

    Okay, okay, maybe I was a little too hasty in dismissing this book right away as uninteresting fluff full of the author's self-absorption. What I have to say now is that the book is, well, seriously uneven. Julie Powell is obviously a literate person with, at times, wide perspectives and the capacity for reflective thought, plus a witty sense of humor when it comes to dissing Republicans, all highly admirable qualities. I just wish one did not have to get through so much tedium to find those lit Okay, okay, maybe I was a little too hasty in dismissing this book right away as uninteresting fluff full of the author's self-absorption. What I have to say now is that the book is, well, seriously uneven. Julie Powell is obviously a literate person with, at times, wide perspectives and the capacity for reflective thought, plus a witty sense of humor when it comes to dissing Republicans, all highly admirable qualities. I just wish one did not have to get through so much tedium to find those little nuggets. About 80 percent of the book is interesting in a cocktail-party-tidbit interesting way: a fact is mentioned and someone replies, "hmmm, didn't know that" or "interesting, interesting" while rocking the head slowly and then the "scintillating" conversation moves on. Not much to go on for 307 pages. But, then her conclusive ending come through, in which she talks about the joy of "finding one's way." She doesn't do it particularly profoundly, she doesn't do it particularly elegantly, but she does it. And it makes it better. (She also has an inspired entire chapter on sex and cooking (See "Flaming Crepes").) On the downside, the story is nowhere near weighty or thoughtful enough to intersperse the Paul and Julia Child historical fiction vignettes into the mix . . . wierdly, I think Julie's story should be kept strictly separate from Julia's. We will have to see if the movie achieves what the book could not. I have to say that for someone as whiny as Ms. Powell was in her late 20s and during the Julie/Julia project, she was a hell of a hard worker and she has inspired me (NOT a 29-year old energetic young woman with an amazing able-bodied husband, but a middle-aged, chronically fatigued woman with an amazing disabled husband) to whine less, get to work on time more, and fix a real meal for dinner! I do admire the woman's hustle, even if her housekeeping was really truly less than to be desired. (For her, I hope she can afford maid service now). I remain intrigued by her project, would never ever attempt anything like it myself, and wish I had read her blog during the Julie/Julia project.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Allison

    I really really liked the premise for this book. I grew up watching Julia Child on weekends, until my Dad showed me that one SNL clip of her and I thought it was real. I didn't want to risk anymore accidental bloodbaths by watching her show. Anyway. Love Julia Child, DISLIKED this book. The narrator is whiny, and self-deprecating in a way that I can only assume she thinks is refreshing and funny, but comes off as sad, unholy, step-cousin of Bridget Jones. Her constant exaultation of liberals, and I really really liked the premise for this book. I grew up watching Julia Child on weekends, until my Dad showed me that one SNL clip of her and I thought it was real. I didn't want to risk anymore accidental bloodbaths by watching her show. Anyway. Love Julia Child, DISLIKED this book. The narrator is whiny, and self-deprecating in a way that I can only assume she thinks is refreshing and funny, but comes off as sad, unholy, step-cousin of Bridget Jones. Her constant exaultation of liberals, and hatred of all Republicans is a good example of her pseudo-intellectual tone throughout the book. I was offended and belong to neither party. Her tone was self-absorbed, and she pulled that thing in the beginning of the book that was like "this is the true story of my project. Except for the parts that aren't true, and those are fiction!" Look, lady, you weren't in freaking 'Nam, there is no reason to pull the meta-fiction card. I disliked how she treated her husband. He had stood by her since high school, encouraged her project, did the dishes, sat through her meltdowns, and she only talked about wanting to sleep with other people, and envying her friends single lives, and wanting to hit his head against the wall. I mean, I have a husband who has stood by me, encourages my projects, does the dishes, and sits through my meltdowns, but it only makes me like him more, and want to try harder. She totally took everything out on him, and flirted with other people while she was at it. At the end of the book she finds out that the real Julia Child HATES her blog, and Julie is totally upset until she reconciles it in her mind by telling herself that "her Julia" loves and encourages her, and is in fact the real Julia, and that everyone can create their own Julia in their head. To which I say, BS- Julia Child doesn't like it, end of story. Don't try to manipulate the situation and force your readers in to believing otherwise.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    This was a book that I finished, but didn't really enjoy. I can appreciate that Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking came along at just the the right time in Julie Powell's life and I can appreciate the difficulty of rounding up Julia's ingredients, like canned onions and marrow bones and I can appreciate the frustration of working in a depressing, post-September 11th setting. But I could not appreciate the casual mentions of sticky, filthy, cat-hair covered counters and reeking body This was a book that I finished, but didn't really enjoy. I can appreciate that Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking came along at just the the right time in Julie Powell's life and I can appreciate the difficulty of rounding up Julia's ingredients, like canned onions and marrow bones and I can appreciate the frustration of working in a depressing, post-September 11th setting. But I could not appreciate the casual mentions of sticky, filthy, cat-hair covered counters and reeking body odor. Julie grossed me out! I fully admit that I don't have the stomach to eat nearly anything in Julia's cookbook, or even to touch raw meat, a chore I have successfully avoided all my life... but this woman's kitchen had maggots growing in it! How do you not notice maggots developing in your kitchen? The kitchen in which you have hosted camera crews and food writers while making incredibly complex French dishes! How hard it is it to wipe down your counters? Especially in a kitchen where you are butchering lobster and deboning duck? You'd think you'd really want to stay on top of bacteria in a kitchen where you are marinating a leg of lamb for three days at room temperature. GROSS, Julie! I found Julie's life anecdotes alienating, repulsive and depressing. They detracted from the point of the story, the reason she ever got a publishing deal and the sole reason any of her readers ever picked up her book in the first place. So.... congratulations to Julie on turning her life around... on telling me about her friends weird and sad sexual dilemmas... for cooking her way through a cultural landmark cookbook. But I don't think I'll be seeking out any more Julie Powell.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Juliana Schnur

    Bravo!! What a fantastic read! You know a book is delicious when a newly legal Manhattanite swears off a social life in favor of hopping into bed with her new paperback. I must have recommended the book to at least ten strangers who heard my uncontrollable outbursts of laughter and had to know what was making me cackle so heartily. Sometimes reading about those sticks of butter did make me feel a bit oily and full, but that Julie Powell, what a refreshing voice. Her wit and sarcasm and depth of Bravo!! What a fantastic read! You know a book is delicious when a newly legal Manhattanite swears off a social life in favor of hopping into bed with her new paperback. I must have recommended the book to at least ten strangers who heard my uncontrollable outbursts of laughter and had to know what was making me cackle so heartily. Sometimes reading about those sticks of butter did make me feel a bit oily and full, but that Julie Powell, what a refreshing voice. Her wit and sarcasm and depth of self-perception --albeit she makes no effort to hide her slight alcoholism or questionable hygiene-- she is so utterly human. I am astounded not so much by her project as by her ability to turn her year of crazed cuisine-art into a hilarious and inventive masterpiece. I must admit, with the exception of her "tart-a-pa-looza" and her crepes, there were few instances when my unrefined palate was tempted to call her for a dinner invitation. But I would love nothing more than to just spend time in Julie's kitchen listening to her spew out random blog anecdotes and 17th century journal entries peppered with profanity. And that supremely sensual dimension she incorporates in her cooking after her covert pre-pubescent explorations of Dad's copy of the Joy of Sex. No wonder people do it in their kitchens! This is the sexiest, most hilarious, heart-warming and even motivating book and it made my vacation. For anyone looking to truly relax and indulge, this is your ideal read. Bon appetite!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Benjamin

    So I was with my wife when I picked up my copy for the book club at work. And of course she started immediately poking fun at my new taste for chick-lit. I was very quick to my own defense, asserting that as non-fiction, it couldn't possibly be chick-lit so there. I was wrong. Because it is non-fiction, but not just about cooking. It's about cooking and her marriage and her friends and their marriages and sex lives and her job and her quarterish life crisis. That didn't make me mad though, what r So I was with my wife when I picked up my copy for the book club at work. And of course she started immediately poking fun at my new taste for chick-lit. I was very quick to my own defense, asserting that as non-fiction, it couldn't possibly be chick-lit so there. I was wrong. Because it is non-fiction, but not just about cooking. It's about cooking and her marriage and her friends and their marriages and sex lives and her job and her quarterish life crisis. That didn't make me mad though, what really made me made was how much I enjoyed it. It's funny! And it's a nice story. So what if it actually is complete chick-lit, right? Right? Anyway, there were some minor things I found irksome. Throughout the Project, Julie mentions that cooking all these recipes have taken a toll on her weight and that she and her husband both have fairly crappy jobs. But she makes almost no mention as to the actual cost of cooking gourmet french food most every night for a year. Surely gelatin and marrow bones do not grow on trees. Also, While I liked the self effacing humor of each kitchen nightmare, it would have been nice to be a fly on the wall to one or two more success stories, just to balance things out. Overall I think Julie Powell convinced me that she is someone I might want to hang out with, but that's about it.

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