Oh. My. God. This was easily one of THE best books I have ever read! Who knew that hidden among the writings on food books was a gem of this caliber a...moreOh. My. God. This was easily one of THE best books I have ever read! Who knew that hidden among the writings on food books was a gem of this caliber and magnificence.
Julie Powell was like many failed actresses who had moved to New York before her…stuck in a dead end job. She was unhappy in her secretarial work for some government agency as are many people who labor at such menial occupations.
On the cusp of her 30th birthday, Julie recognized the trivial existence she had been inhabiting and determined that she needed some purpose in life. She was beckoned to what would be become her Bible for the next year…Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child. Julie resolved to cook her way through this intimidating collection of recipes within one year. Not only did she take on this daunting task, she decided to blog about her experience, which resulted in a group of followers, several interviews, and an eventual book deal.
What follows the introduction into the premise is 300 astonishing pages of anger, pain, laughter, frustration, adoration, and…butter. Julie deliciously (and sometimes disgustingly) describes, in detail, her journey into the foray of French cooking. We are thrilled with her when she accomplishes tasks such as bone marrow scraping and crepe flipping. We are aggravated alongside her through the poaching of eggs and the ever elusive task of mayonnaise making. We are enraptured with tart-a-palooza and squirm our way through aspics. We are even with her when she attempts culinary seduction by way of pecan spice cake with pecan icing.
Not only is there are relationship built with Julie but through her, and the apartments in her brain pan, we come to know Julia Child as a culinary genius and one Hell of a woman. I was even saddened when in the final pages of the book I learned that Julia Child died on the eve of her 92nd birthday.
This book is not strictly about food, though that is the central theme, but is also about people. We get to know Sally and are somewhat creeped out by the David’s, we worry over Isabel’s life altering choices, and enjoy Gwen’s sexy IM romance. We are thankful for husband’s as supportive and composed as Eric and wish Julie’s mother would just calm down. What is there to say about Heathcliff other than…that’s Heathcliff.
What can I say to express the sheer pleasure and delight that filled me with each turn of the page? I laughed, I cried, and I toiled. This book is inspirational to say the least. I was ravenous through the majority of its duration and my cravings would change as we grew deeper into the cookbook, beginning with potato soup and ending with a stuffed, pastry-wrapped duck. I found myself overflowing with the hunger to cook. I kept walking to my kitchen bookshelf to find and flip through my copy of Julia Child’s The Way to Cook. Not only have I found myself wanting to create culinary masterpieces, I also was inspired to write. Julie Powell’s voice is blunt, brutal, and honest. She has no qualms about using the word fuck whenever she sees fit, and sometimes even if it doesn’t fit. She does not sugar coat her life to make it seem more desirable. She offers the reader nothing other than her self and her life. Take her as she as or do not take her at all…and balls to you if you don’t like her!
All in all, this was quite a delectable read. I recommend it to anyone who wants a good laugh and or if you simply want an uplifting, yet down and dirty read. I cannot wait to see what Julie comes out with next. Bon Appetite!!!
I decided to read this book because I was pulled in by Running with Scissors by this author. I cannot say that I loved the other book but I could not...moreI decided to read this book because I was pulled in by Running with Scissors by this author. I cannot say that I loved the other book but I could not put it down. I considered it to be like a train wreck. You know you should stop looking but you just can’t help yourself. So, here I am again…becoming completely engaged with Augusten and his life.
Whereas Running with Scissors was like a train wreck, this book pulls at your heartstrings. This book is written with the innocence of childhood. Full of complete love and adoration for a man who refuses even the slightest glance for his poor son who only wanted to be held. Augusten would fight “the arms” and try to get past them to get to his father. He would ask questions and do everything he could for his father. His father however, refused to reciprocate this love. The most Augusten ever received from his father was an automatic “very much I love you too” at bedtime.
Though childhood innocence can protect a boy from many hurts in life, this innocence does not last forever. Unfortunately, Augusten learned too soon that something was wrong or “missing” from his father. Innocence was replaced by fear, fear replaced by terror, and terror replaced by desperation. All he ever wanted was love, compassion, approval.
Though Augusten’s father had his own share of childhood pain and torture, the cycle must be broken at some point. This man was not strong enough to do so. The “games” repeat themselves and become more sadistic.
Finishing this book I could not help but stare at the picture of Augusten Burroughs on the back cover. His eyes seemed to pierce through me and I marveled at how this man, who survived so much, could have made something so wonderful of himself. There is something in this man that helped him survive. Could it have truly been a half loaf of bread, five slices of bologna, and a can of fruit punch that pushed him to make something of himself? Was it the love he lifted from a complete stranger that was the catalyst? Either way, Augusten Burroughs has a way with words. He pulls you in and forces you to run, terrified, through the woods with him. His sadness for the “outside” dog transcends the pages and becomes your sadness. His fears of becoming his father become your fears. This is a man who grabs hold of your spirit, emotions, your soul and he refuses to let you go. You are with him and he is with you…always. (less)
Liz Gilbert had what many would consider to be the perfect life. She had a loving husband with whom she was trying to have a baby, she had an amazing...moreLiz Gilbert had what many would consider to be the perfect life. She had a loving husband with whom she was trying to have a baby, she had an amazing job, and a brand new home with which her and her family could share. Unfortunately, Liz realized she was unhappy with her life when she found herself crying on the bathroom floor at three in the morning. She did not want to be married, she did not want to have a baby, she did not want her brand new house, she did not want her life. So, she got a divorce (no, it was not just that easy) and she embarked on a journey across the three I’s; Italy, India, and Indonesia.
Liz’s writing style is witty and conversational. She’s funny and forthcoming with her thoughts, fears, and feelings. She often makes her reader laugh out loud by some of her quips and metaphors.
The section on Italy was full of interesting characters, historical tidbits, and delicious food. And don’t forget the gorgeous Italian men and the beauty of the language. I thoroughly enjoyed every part of her four month stay in Italy. I would have been more than thrilled if the entire book was about Italy. Unfortunately, Liz needed to move on to India. India started interestingly enough but soon lost my interest. Unfortunately, I feel there is a limit to how much I can read about one person’s meditation and praying practices. However, in India we meet Richard from Texas. Richard from Texas has an attitude and personality as big as the state he is from! He was funny and insightful…Liz was lucky to have found him seeing as how he helped her realize her true potential and that she could forgive and love herself. Liz finally leaves the Ashram after four months and moves on to Indonesia. In Indonesia she meets healers and expatriates. Here, Liz learns to open her heart to not only herself but to others as well.
All in all I was happy to be able to take this journey with this intelligent and funny woman. Liz’s account did not seem over the top as some memoirs can be but was written in a true and natural voice. I am thrilled to have been able to eat with her in Italy, pray with her in India, and finally love with her in Indonesia. (less)