Book Review: Julie and Julia

juliejuliaJulie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously
by Julie Powell
Back Bay Books,
Little, Brown and Company, 2005

I checked this book out from the library when it first came out in hardcover. I didn’t finish it before I had to return it. Then I heard they were making a movie of the book. Anna, at Hatchette Book Group, was offering paperback copies for review, so I said, “please.”

You see, I really wanted to read this book originally because I love food books. And this one was going to be about the Master – Julia Child. Nearly everyone who has held a copy of the book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking or perhaps watched Julia Child’s TV shows, has fantasized about cooking her recipes. I have. Well, at least some of the easy ones.

So did the author, Julie Powell. She was at a low point in her young life: a series of temp jobs, a physical ailment, horrid NYC apartments, no future. The only good thing in her life was a great husband, Eric. In a moment of very low despair she told Eric she was going to cook every single recipe in the Julia Child book. Maybe she could at least become a good cook. Always supportive, Eric suggested she start a blog and write about her experience.

Julie didn’t know what a blog was. This was 2002 when blogs were new. With help from Eric she learned how to manage a blog. And recipe by recipe she learned how to master the art of French cooking and she wrote about it on her blog.

524 recipes is a lot of cooking in one year. Most nights they didn’t eat until very late. Gradually she worked her way through chapter after chapter. She called it The Project and it consumed much of her non-working life; Eric’s too.

Still, we wound up eating before nine o’clock that night, for the first time in ages. Eric washed all the dishes; I mixed up some gimlets. I still had a glow on from finishing the fish chapter . . . There was a reality show on TV. A pregnant silence settled over the apartment, as we tried to remember: now, what is it, again, that people do when they aren’t cooking?

Cooking French food is at the center of this book but it is also about her life and her friends and a bit about Julia Child’s life as well. Julie Powell was able to take her blog to the book level and now it’s going to be a movie. Amy Adams plays Julie and Meryl Streep plays Julia Child.

I do have to warn you that Julie Powell’s language is rough. It’s actually beyond potty mouth. It didn’t keep me from reading and enjoying the book but I know some people like to know that beforehand. This is a memoir of sorts so it’s about Julie Powell. Rough but hip talk is who she is.

I made myself read the book before the movie comes to town (tomorrow, August 7). I’m hoping the movie will be as much fun as the book was. I found the movie trailer. Watch and enjoy.

You can buy Julie and Julia at Amazon

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14 Responses to Book Review: Julie and Julia

  1. Beth F says:

    Funny timing! My mother called me yesterday to tell me that she had just finished J&J and really loved it. She didn’t think it was great literature or anything but thought it was a really fun read. Especially for those of us who remember when Mastering the Art of French Cooking came out and when Julia Child was the *only* food star.

  2. Cerrin says:

    I just cant wait to see this movie. I have been wanting to see it for a while.

  3. stacybuckeye says:

    I really want to read this one and I don’t think I’ll see the movie until I do. I hadn’t heard that she had a potty mouth. I’m imagining what my language might be if I tried to cook my way through the french cooking cookbook and thinking potty mouth might not be that far off 😉

  4. I loved the trailer – no potty mouth there either! Meryl Streep is just so amazing. It seems like she can do anything!

  5. Kathy says:

    I listened to the audio version of this and enjoyed it, but did think some of the language was totally unnecessary. I plan to see the movie too.

  6. Michael says:

    Hi Margot, my infant son is chewing away at my left knuckles while I am typing with one hand to let you know that there is an award waiting for you here.

  7. Cathy says:

    If I tried to do what Julie Powell did, potty mouth wouldn’t even begin to cover it, but then I’m the first to admit that my dream house wouldn’t have a kitchen! I keep seeing the movie trailer, and I know I have to see the film. I don’t think there’s anything Streep can’t do.

  8. I adored this book and i can’t wait to see the movie. Streep is amazing!

  9. Cathy says:

    After seeing the trailer – I want to read this book then maybe see the movie.

  10. candice says:

    I didn’t even think about reading the book before, but now I definitely want to, oh, and see the movie. Looks like my kind of fun summer movie! Loved the trailer & of course Meryl Streep is great, isn’t she always. But, I love Amy Adams. She captures something that I almost never reveal in myself. She makes looking scattered-crazy kind of endearing. Thanks for the review.

  11. Janice says:

    The movie is going to be fun, can’t wait to see it. The book, not so much.

  12. I wonder if the movie is also “beyond potty mouth”. Thanks for the warning, it won’t keep me away from the book, though! (my husband was shocked that I enjoyed listening to BEAT THE REAPER which was way beyond potty mouth … it was part of the character and totally entertaining.)

  13. Staci says:

    I just picked this one up Saturday at my library!! Glad to see that you enjoyed it. Can’t wait to get into and see the movie sometime!!

  14. Anna says:

    I’m reading this one right now, and so far it’s amusing. The language doesn’t bother me very much, but I don’t think it’s necessary at all.

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