Book #2 Review
Okay, you caught me. This is where I got part of my inspiration for this blog. I was reading this book before the Spring Semester started here and I couldn’t help but be impressed by the challenge Julie Powell set for herself. I honestly didn’t think that she would finish even though I saw the movie and knew that she finished.
I agree with many other readers that I’ve spoken to that the idea for the book was genius, but the execution was severely lacking. Her situation is like my situation, and the situation of many people out there. We’re stuck doing work we hate and feel completely lost. So why not spice things up by challenging ourselves to an insurmountable goal such as cooking 524 recipes in a year, or reading 100 books?
I’ll admit that Julie Powell can be charming and hilarious at times, and her dedication to the project is nothing if not admirable. The rest of the time, I seriously thought she was a basket case. I’ve never read a book where the main character cries so frequently over, what seems like, nothing. She cried on the subway to work, she cries in her apartment constantly, I honestly can’t think of a place where she didn’t cry except the Julia Child museum. Her emotions throughout the book diminished her credibility in my eyes and I almost wanted her to finish the project because I was afraid she’d cry again. It’s one thing to say that you’re unhappy with your life, and that you get upset, but saying that you started to cry in public is just embarrassing for the reader more so than the character.
Another thing that didn’t work in the book were the letters and journal entries that was supposed to correspond to the Julia Child side of the story. Perhaps the movie spoiled me for that part, but I found them to be better done in the movie than in the book. In the movie, they’re changed into bits and pieces of Julia Child’s life. In the book, we hardly know who’s even writing them. If I hadn’t seen the movie, I think I would have been completely lost. Because ofthis, they just turned into fillers for me.
The book is, thankfully, not all that bad. If you take out the crying parts, it’s actually written well. The amount of knowledge Julie Powell has about the food she’s making and the life of Julia Child makes her sound like an expert on the subject even though she’s completely self-taught. Her dedication, as I mentioned before, minus the grouchiness and bitterness that it gave her mood, is nothing but impressive. There were times in the book where even Julie doubted that she could cook 524 recipes in 1 year, especially the daunting ones that contained duck, or lobster or gasp JELLIES!!! But she persevered and made, sometimes unsuccessfully, the dish to the best of her ability. Even if it wasn’t done perfectly, she did it, and that’s what counts.
Julia and Julia: My Year Cooking Dangerously is definitely an inspiring book. It inspired me to do this project! I’d recommend that if you’re more interested in the story and not the emotions, that you see the movie Julie and Julia with Amy Adams. It’s done better than the book. If you’re more interested in the food and the cooking techniques, then I’d suggest you read the book. It all depends what you want from the experience.
That’s it for me. Happy reading, and in the words of Julia Child, “Bon Appetit!”