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Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen – by Julie Powell

August 7, 2009

I found this book on the outside bargain book shelf at Borders about 2 years ago. I wasn’t really expecting much from it since I had never found a book on the bargain shelves on the inside that I loved let alone on the outside bargain shelves which seem to be where books go to die a long, sad, unread death. However, the premise of someone much like myself (a sad, bored cubicle drone/temp employee with a tiny kitchen) deciding to attempt something as daunting as cooking ALL 524 recipes in Julia Child’s tome Mastering the Art of French Cooking piqued my interest. Plus, I had just bought the same cute little egg handled egg-beater that is picture on the original cover and I felt like it was a sign (I try never to ignore a sign). Still I wasn’t expecting much from Julie & Julia… to say that I was pleasantly surprised is an understatement!

I love this book. I love the story and am inspired by the journey Julie Powell embarked on and finished. I had no idea who she was. I had never read her blog (until after I finished the book). The book completely stood on it’s own two feet. I laughed with and at Julie. I cried with and for her. I felt triumphant and discouraged. Then finally elated by the end of the book. It is an emotional roller-coaster ride and is worth every second because you know it is a true story and Julie Powell’s writing reminds you just how real all of it is. Throughout the book you can picture yourself in exactly the places Julie has been, doing & saying the things she did.

One of the things that adds to the enjoyment of the book is how Julie weaves her own journey in with the journey Julia Child made on her way to becoming the JULIA CHILD. The book is more about Julie Powell’s own journey and how spending a year cooking and blogging allowed her to find her voice as a writer. It is not the best written book I have ever read but it is well written, especially for a first time writer. The challenge she imposed upon herself and the struggles (mostly caused by her own insecurities) that she over came are what make this a great book as well as an inspirational one.

The movie based on this book opened in theaters today. I would recommend reading the book first (of course that is something I always recommend). The reviews I have read about the movie say that the movie is more about Julia Child first and second about good marriages than it is about Julie Powell’s very personal journey. Don’t get me wrong there is an impressive amount of support given by both Julie & Julia’s husbands in this story but at it’s heart the book is really about two women trying to find out who they really are through cooking. It will be a shame to me if the movie really does not effectively get that point across. I will see the movie because I am a Julie Powell fan. I just hope it does her justice.

The book is worth the price of admission, even at full price.

*note: The re-release version of the book has a slightly different title than the original but is easier to find these days, unless purchased from Amazon.com or used. The new title is Julie & Julie: My Year of Cooking Dangerously.

UPDATE: Here are the links to both the original Julie/Julia Project and Julie Powell’s Current Blog.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. lizaanne42 permalink
    August 7, 2009 01:57

    Very nice review. I read Julie & Julia (movie-tie-in version) recently for the first time. I agree with you that the book’s core is Julie’s journey. She is such a strong and distinct voice throughout the story, and it would be a shame if that were lost. I hope not. I am looking forward to seeing the film this week. I reviewed this book myself not too long ago, if you want to check it out.
    –Lizaanne
    http://lizaanne42.wordpress.com/2009/07/31/she-can-cook-for-me-anytime/

  2. August 26, 2009 01:57

    I agree 100%; just loved this one.

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