Thursday, January 7
Book Review: Julie & Julia
Author: Julie Powell
Summary: Nearing 30 and trapped in a dead-end secretarial job, Julie Powell resolved to reclaim her life by cooking, in the span of a single year, every one of the 524 recipes in Julia Child's legendary Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Her unexpected reward: not just a newfound respect for calves' livers and aspic, but a new life--lived with gusto.
My Rating: 6/10
What I liked/disliked about the book: Since the book caught my eye last year in the blogverse, in fact this is one of the books I’m using for the I Wish I Read That Challenge, because the amount of recommendations and advertising it’s received. Everyone said what a great laugh the movie was, so of course I grabbed the book, to make sure I’d have read it before I watch the movie. What a let down!
The book wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t anything like I expected and it certainly didn’t live up to all the hype it’s received. This is the first memoir I’ve reviewed, but it wasn’t that it was a memoir that made me unhappy with it. It was more on how the book was executed, because it reads more like a work of fiction, loosely based on the real people mentioned in the book. It seems odd to me to find the book placed in the non-fiction sections of the libraries and bookstores, because it’s not really written like a non-fiction book, it seems more chick-lit than anything else.
One of the main issues I have with the book, is that the author constantly went of these little side stories, that really didn’t add anything to the main story line. If in fact this was a memoir based on the year she cooked all of Julia Child’s recipes, I want to hear the triumphs, disasters and everything between of her attempts. I want to read/see experts from her blog, more in-depth descriptions about cooking and the process. This is a non-fiction book on cooking, but the cooking part is somewhat lacking at times, being drowned out on her complaining of work or explaining her friends boyfriend troubles.
A second issue is how whiney and self-absorbed Julie is. She goes on and on about how horrible her life and job are, yet does little about it. If you really hate your secretary job so much, why not try for something better? She lives in New York, I’m sure there’s something out there. When she first started writing about these characteristics it didn’t bother me that much, it’s who she is as a person, but when it becomes almost every page of her going on how horrible she has it because the bathroom sucks, she’s a failure because she can’t get the recipe right, it becomes tiresome very quickly. Also, I don’t care about how much the author likes Buffy, but Buffy has nothing to do with cooking, or the Julie and Julia project. (Can you see why it reads more like a fictional book?)
The good stuff, because there were parts that were funny and amusing. The book does have a lot of laugh-out-loud moments. Some of her attempts to cook the food, her disasters were funny. And someone who likes to cook and has had some very disastrous cooking attempts can relate to her on that level (I once made cookies from scratch that some how tasted like sulphur (or at least the taste of what it smells like, if you get what I mean)). I just wish more of the book was concentrated on this part, rather than her whining and side tracks of work, friends and family issues.
Overall, I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I think this is a case where the movie might be better then the book, because you can actually see all the disasters in the kitchen, and the characters reactions. The book does convey that, but not as clearly as I would like.
Would I recommend it to read: Hmm, I'm not sure I would. It wasn't that good, boring at times. This may be one of the RARE cases where the movie might be better then the book. (Please don't through things at your computers at me), the movie just might be better for an entertainment/good laugh value
What to read next: I'm at a total loss for this one. Maybe grab one of Julia Child's cookbooks and try to cook some food? Other than that I'm not sure what to recommend or where to go from here. If you liked the book, then try more books by Julie Powell, but that's the best I can do.
Challenges: Read 'n' Review Challenge, Pages Read Challenge,10/10 Category Challenge,
52 in 52 Challenge, 100+ Challenge, A - Z Challenge, Countdown Challenge,
Support Your Library Challenge, Wish I Read That Challenge