Posted in Food and Drink, My Bibliothèque

{Book Review} – Julie and Julia, by Julie Powell !

Julie and Julia is a book where a 30-something secretary, who lives in Long Island city with her husband, Eric and a number of pets, including a snake called Zuzu (?),  named Julie Powell chronicles her experiences about her self-invented “Julie/Julia Project” and her experiences through those 365 days. The Julie/Julia project entails cooking 524 recipes from the Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking ( MtAoFC) in the span of one year and documenting her experiences in her blog. She comes up with this project to break the monotony of her boring life.

My motivation to read the book was obviously how much I enjoyed the screen adaptation of the Julie and Julia. The book opens with a couple of chapters on the author’s life before the Julie Julia Project happened and Julia Child’s life when she had just met Paul ( the way Julia calls him Paulsky is SO ADORABLE! ) before they were. The chapters about Julia and Paul are some of the most beautiful ones in the book, probably more than the ones the author writes about her relationship with Paul. Julie’s Eric comes off to me as an amazingly loving, accommodating and encouraging husband. And I don’t mean that Julie isn’t a good person, but the nuances of their relationship struck a chord with me. While I don’t swear as much as Julie ( which is a lot, gets a bit irritating after a while) and don’t have meltdowns at the drop of the hat like she does,  I used to be a similar person, until a while ago. So, while Eric stays mostly in the backdrop all the happening things, he is one of my favorite characters in the book. When I say this, I am being really really honest. Her relationships with her family and friends, while being interesting, are nothing novel.

Then she describes the thrills, the kicks and several of the nervous breakdowns that she faces along the way. The connect she makes with readers of her blog ( she calls them “bleaders”, now who does that? ) is something everyone who blogs will relate to.  Obviously, there is a lot of food involved and a lot handling kidneys, livers, calves, brains and what not of various species of animals. Before you judge me, let me tell you this. It’s not the non-vegetarian nature that is bothering me. I am not criticizing it from the  cruelty point of view. It’s just that after one or two occasions, the whole nature of this part of the story becomes boring. And she ends the book mentioning about what the meaning and joy the project brought to her and her takeaways from the whole experience of 365 days.

I will summarize my review of the book with a view that it was a bit of a letdown for me. While I tried to be neutral and usually tried to avoid comparison with the motion picture, I could not help but think, whether the movie really was this boring at any point. I loved the parts about Julia Child’s life, they were simply adorable. But the author’s journey of the project, not so much. Sometimes, I just went along with reading the author’s segments desperately waiting for a section on Julia. My biggest complaint is the tone is too self-deprecating and criticizing. While not everything in life is not all good, I think the author somehow manages to make the experience of the Julie-Julia project sound worse that it actually had. I keep feeling it cannot be as bad as she makes it sounds, not as bad as much she cribs about it, all the time. So while it is not an outrightly crappy book, my interest and the enjoyment I derived from the book followed a sinusoidal pattern, with occasional bouts where I enjoyed portions in the author’s journey. If you are keen about knowing more about Julia Child, I would suggest that you to give this book a miss and, instead pick up My Life in France, which is her autobiography. Also, if you want it because you like the motion picture, definitely give this a miss.

  • My Rating 2.5 out of 5.
  • Recommendation: You can most definitely give this a miss. If it’s the movie that made you interested in the book, give it a miss without a second thought.

So, this will be my entry to the wonderful event called Book Review Day , hosted by Nivedita of Weird and Wonderful and the event called Friday Reads hosted by Lauren of L Jones Edition. It’s my first time taking part in an event so I am kind of nervous.

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3 thoughts on “{Book Review} – Julie and Julia, by Julie Powell !

  1. I had almost bought this book several times after watching a bit of that movie. Now that I have read your review, I will probably be just content watching the movie when I get a chance.

    Liked by 1 person

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