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

Julie and Julia by Julie Powell
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Jul 24, 09

Read in July, 2009

Okay, okay, maybe I was a little too hasty in dismissing this book right away as uninteresting fluff full of the author's self-absorption. What I have to say now is that the book is, well, seriously uneven.

Julie Powell is obviously a literate person with, at times, wide perspectives and the capacity for reflective thought, plus a witty sense of humor when it comes to dissing Republicans, all highly admirable qualities. I just wish one did not have to get through so much tedium to find those little nuggets. About 80 percent of the book is interesting in a cocktail-party-tidbit interesting way: a fact is mentioned and someone replies, "hmmm, didn't know that" or "interesting, interesting" while rocking the head slowly and then the "scintillating" conversation moves on. Not much to go on for 307 pages. But, then her conclusive ending come through, in which she talks about the joy of "finding one's way." She doesn't do it particularly profoundly, she doesn't do it particularly elegantly, but she does it. And it makes it better. (She also has an inspired entire chapter on sex and cooking (See "Flaming Crepes").)

On the downside, the story is nowhere near weighty or thoughtful enough to intersperse the Paul and Julia Child historical fiction vignettes into the mix . . . wierdly, I think Julie's story should be kept strictly separate from Julia's. We will have to see if the movie achieves what the book could not.

I have to say that for someone as whiny as Ms. Powell was in her late 20s and during the Julie/Julia project, she was a hell of a hard worker and she has inspired me (NOT a 29-year old energetic young woman with an amazing able-bodied husband, but a middle-aged, chronically fatigued woman with an amazing disabled husband) to whine less, get to work on time more, and fix a real meal for dinner! I do admire the woman's hustle, even if her housekeeping was really truly less than to be desired. (For her, I hope she can afford maid service now).

I remain intrigued by her project, would never ever attempt anything like it myself, and wish I had read her blog during the Julie/Julia project.
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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by Madalyn (new)

Madalyn Let me know what you think of this. I might have to read this one.

Andrea Homier I am not through half of it yet, but I would say, skip it. It's a bit self-absorbed for me. Also, I didn't realize that this is her second memoir based on her "project." I find the project itself fascinating and think I should have picked up her first book based more on the cooking experience and her, blog, I believe. Seems like it might be one of those "the movie is better than the book." I am much more tolerant of movie lite than I am of lit lite. For movies, entertainment is good. For reading, I want experience, insight, MEAT. :-)

message 3: by Linda (new)

Linda Thank you for the sagaciousness review. I think I will pass on the book!

message 4: by Mary Jo (new)

Mary Jo I read her 1st book after reading "My Life In France", Julia Child's autobiography. I just loved that book and couldn't get enough of Julia Child, so picked up Julie's 1st book. I read that Julia Child refused to meet with Julie. Self-absored came to my mind and wondered about Julie's real motivation in writing a blog and book. I'm wondering how Julia Child would feel about the movie. Read "My Life in France". It's a book about a real heroine in my mind. Julie Child is awesome.

Andrea Homier Thanks, Mary Jo, for the recommendation. I have put it on my to-read list! I also found out that there is no "first book" and "second book", so if you read the first book already, you read this same one as I did. I guess they just re-released the book because of the upcoming movie, but they also changed the subtitle, so at initial glance, it looks like it a second book. Tricky, hmmm??? Again, thanks for the recommendation. I look forward to My Life in France!

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