Jennifer's Reviews > Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously

Julie and Julia by Julie Powell
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Aug 17, 07

Recommended for: No One
Read in August, 2007

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...]

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Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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Rhonda I fully agree with the whiny, self-absorbed comment!


Sheila I agree, I thought it was just me. I am listening to it on CD, but it goes on and on. I love the cooking parts, but the rest -- bleh. Have not seen the movie yet.


Becca I enjoyed your review, but I am surprised by the frustration that you seem to harbor against Julie for her honesty in this book. I gave it 3 stars because it was easy to read and enjoyable - not because I think it's 2 steps shy of a literary masterpiece.

I agree with you about the state of health in America and that people should take responsibility for themselves instead of relying on prescription drugs, but that is so unrelated to the fact that this woman was trying to learn new things and write a book about her experience. She doesn't mention getting sick, or relying on drugs to cope with the butter-weight, and we don't even know how much she weighed to begin with! I think your judgment and anger here is misplaced.

I, too, have a "lowly secretary job" that is full-time, and I cook new recipes with new foods every week (which began a couple of years ago when I joined a CSA). It's not hard to believe that she found the time for this - especially when you consider that she said they often didn't eat dinner until 10 or 11. I've been there - it's not earth-shattering.

Enjoyed reading your review, but not your misplaced frustrations.


message 4: by Emily (new)

Emily I used a quote from your review on my blog
www.museofreading.blogspot.com

I hope this is okay. If not, please let me know!


Shona One of the most narcissitstic voices I've come across in memoir! Your review is spot on.


message 6: by Effy (new) - added it

Effy The blog site I think is shutdown. :-( I remember I was going to try and read the blog everyday but forgot and now its too late. If your review and almost everybody elses review is right, then I won't be able to read about the year she cooked 524 recipes but instead about her job and old stories of hers.


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