Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Review: "Julie & Julia" by Julie Powell

Julie Powell is vaguely dissatisfied with her life. She's living in New York with her adorable husband Eric but she hates her government agency temp job and dreads getting up in the morning. She isn't in love with her apartment, and her biological clock is ticking steadily towards 30 with no baby in sight. She's unsure what to do to change the direction things are going in when she comes up with the idea that she should cook all 524 recipes in Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking"- but that she should do it within a year. Her husband supports her idea because she already loves to cook and he takes things one step further by suggesting that she blog about it. Now this was a couple of years ago when everyone didn't have a blog. They were far more rare (although definitely out there) so although Julie is a little skeptical, she takes the plunge and begins to cook and write.

What follows is the often amusing story of what it is like trying to cook 524 French recipes in a year. Julie gains 20 lbs from eating recipes containing an entire stick of butter, learns how to boil a lobster and flip a crepe, and finds out things along the way about herself, her marriage and about her friends.

I found "Julie & Julia" amusing and somewhat comforting. Her attempts to try cooking things that didn't even sound remotely appealing to me were amusing- I cheered when she succeeded and I could relate when things didn't go that well (lately I've had issues with flipping eggs- I've never had that problem before, so go figure!) Fellow book blogger Alaine wrote a great review about this book and said that it made her hungry, but I found that the opposite was true for me. The odd recipe got my stomach rumbling, but overall the foods being cooked didn't appeal to me. What I found comforting is that Julie Powell was just a regular woman doing something a little off-beat and people responded to it. I love regular people, and I love reading about them. Famous people are great, but regular old people are interesting too.

Overall, this was an interesting book about an interesting experiment. If I get a chance, I'll probably pick up her latest book when it comes out (it chronicles her new adventures- as a butcher's assistant!) Her writing style was a tiny bit confusing at times (it would jump from past to present, from Julia to Julie with no warning) but I managed to figure it all out.

Thanks to the Hachette Book Group for sending me this review copy! From their website you can also read an excerpt for a taste of "Julie & Julia".

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