This book is definitely chick-lit, but it wasn't all light and fluffy like I thought it would be; instead it got pretty deep towards the end, tackling...moreThis book is definitely chick-lit, but it wasn't all light and fluffy like I thought it would be; instead it got pretty deep towards the end, tackling some serious issues. I wish I could tell you what those issues are, but that would seriously spoil the whole thing for you should you decide to read it.
Cannie Shapiro is an overweight journalist struggling to get over her ex-boyfriend. Along the way she joins a weight loss study, meets celebrities (as part of her job), travels to Hollywood to sell a manuscript, still struggles to get over the ex-boyfriend, tries to make sense of her father's abandonment, and then some bigger things happen. Remember the issues I can't tell you about? Well, it's big and serious, and executed excellently.
Weiner is a great writer. And I don't just mean in the "good descriptions and character development" way, though she does that well, too. More importantly, Weiner knows how to write a humorous novel while simultaneously tackling a serious woman's issue and have the ending wrap up in a satisfying, not cliché way. In case you haven't guessed, I was very impressed with the way Weiner took a traditional chick-lit topic and used it to tackle a more serious plot.
The book is almost ten years old (omg, where did this last decade go!?) so the references are outdated, but it was fun to look back at them. Overall, I'm glad to have finally read this!(less)
**spoiler alert** Who doesn't know what this book is? It's a memoir of a young woman who decided to find herself by cooking every single recipe in Jul...more**spoiler alert** Who doesn't know what this book is? It's a memoir of a young woman who decided to find herself by cooking every single recipe in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking (that's over five hundred recipes!) in just one year. Her story was made into a major motion picture starring two of the greatest actresses of our time - Meryl Streep and Amy Adams. You'd have to live under a rock to have not heard of this by now. Quite frankly, after watching and loving the film, I'd been wanting to read the book for quite some time.
It was great to go through the memoir and consider along with Julie each thing she was cooking. She'd never eaten an egg before this experiment, which gets you wondering, how does that even happen? And to be honest, I couldn't identify with Julie's disgust with bone marrow. Have you ever eaten marrow? In my family we practically fight over the bone in the ham steak so we can suck out the marrow. It's creamy and delicious! I don't see why the marrow from a cow would be that much different from that of a pig. Anyway, I was happy to read that Julie enjoyed the marrow when it finally came down to eating it.
One of the more interesting themes for me was the relation between food and sex. As a pre-teen Julie got a thrill by secretly sneaking peaks of her parent's copy of The Joy of Sex and later found flipping through her mother's copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking gave her the same thrill. When Julie and Eric started dating she used food to keep him around and to get in his pants, just as Julia used cooking to help establish a relationship with her husband, Paul. Not just in the memoir, but I think frequently in life, there is this connection between food and sex. It's hard to explain, but it makes sense - they're both delicious, delectable things to indulge in. They kind of go hand in hand somehow.
Watching the movie makes me want to get up and cook something spectacular. Maybe not aspic because, let's face it, that's kind of gross. But maybe something good like Boeuf Bourguignon. At the very least it makes me think I'll bone a duck before I die, though maybe not anytime soon. The book did not inspire me the way the movie did, but it was still a fantastic read. Julie has a gift for quirky writing and the memoir made me giggle at the right points. Props to her for blogging and then making a career out of it. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who likes to cook.(less)
Fresh off her second run at The Hunger Games, Katniss finds herself trying to defend her family and the rebels of Panem against President Snow's war a...moreFresh off her second run at The Hunger Games, Katniss finds herself trying to defend her family and the rebels of Panem against President Snow's war against them. I was so excited to read this! Though I didn't enjoy the first book too much, I loved the second book and thought the third book would be even better. Ultimately, I didn't think it was as good as the second, but it was definitely interesting to see how things turned out for Panem. In the Epilogue I found relief for Katniss and overall, I was mostly satisfied with the ending both of this novel and of the trilogy as a whole. (less)
Most of the book focuses on the Spanish-American war, though I was hoping for a little more information about the "homefront." A very good book about...moreMost of the book focuses on the Spanish-American war, though I was hoping for a little more information about the "homefront." A very good book about the year 1898 and the years surrounding it. The last chapter about advertising was particularly interesting.(less)
I went into this book knowing that many, many people have read it with high hopes and have ended up disappointed, actually really hating the novel. De...moreI went into this book knowing that many, many people have read it with high hopes and have ended up disappointed, actually really hating the novel. Despite knowing that many people have been disappointed, I couldn't help think they must all be wrong. Surely it's not that bad. My copy says it's sold over four million copies, surely four million people can't be wrong!
Here I sit, having just finished the novel, dismayed that they weren't completely wrong. I didn't hate or abhor it as other people have, but I'm not in love with it. It wasn't until page 306 that the book redeemed itself for me; things got really interesting and made sense in the larger context of the original book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. That's what I'd been looking for all along! Really, for me, the beginning was good, the middle was a struggle, and the ending was great. That's why this book gets three stars from me.
One review I read claimed this novel was written at a fifth grade reading level. It absolutely is not that easy of a novel to read. Rarely in a book do I come across words that I don't know, but I came across quite a few in this novel, which I consider a good thing. If I'd actually bothered to look the words up, I might have learned something! A big plus.
Another pro - it's a fairytale retelling. Who doesn't love a good fairytale retelling? Although I wish there had been more focus on Baum's characters and less on Maguire's made up characters, like Elphie's parents.
On the other side of spectrum, I found parts of the plot confusing. Although it must have been mentioned somewhere, I'm not sure how Elphie went from place to place. I don't mean, did she walk or ride a horse, I mean what in her life spurred her arrival at the convent, or at least I think it was convent. But I didn't miss so much that I didn't understand the plot as a whole, which was a relief.
What more can I say? You will probably enjoy it if you're big on fantasy books and I did thoroughly enjoy the ending, which made it totally worth it for me. (less)
I was going to review this for my blog to get everyone into the Halloween spirit, but it wasn't that great of a book. I didn't realize it was part of...moreI was going to review this for my blog to get everyone into the Halloween spirit, but it wasn't that great of a book. I didn't realize it was part of a series and because I haven't read any other books in it, I missed the backstory which is probably why I didn't enjoy it that much.(less)