Sep 27, 2009

Book Review: Julie and Julia

Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen by Julie Powell


My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I should have listened to worldwide bookish wisdom and not seen the movie before I read Julie and Julia. Seeing the film first absolutely ruined the book for me. I keep envisioning Meryl Streep as Julia Child and Amy Adams as Julie as scenes from the film kept intruding during my reading.

I liked the film. Unfortunately, I didn't think the book had much more to offer once I knew the story. I keep admiring Julie's determination to finish cooking all the recipes in Julia's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and I admire her tenacity and blogging successfully about it. I wish there had been her actual blog posts, printed chronologically with the dates for each one, instead of a continuous narrative based on her blog. Then there would have been something interesting to read after the movie!

I like that Julie added questions at the end of the book to help the reader on, and also her list of favorite related books. One entry that did not help me with the book. however, and stood out as a complete non sequitur to her previous list of recommended books on cooking:

"And a couple of random good reads to round things out...

"The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection From the Living Dead" by Max Brooks. Words cannot describe how I adore this book.... I couldn't think of a way to justify putting the complete DVD set of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" on a reading list, but this is the next best thing."
Now if there is one set of books/DVD I would not read or watch, it's Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Just not my genre.

It goes without saying though that those who haven't seen the movie should really enjoy reading this interesting and unusual story about the love of cooking, Julie and Julia.

Thanks to the publisher for a copy of the book for review.

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13 comments:

  1. I actually only liked the food parts in this book. The rest about Julie's life I didn't care about. I actually skimmed through those after the midpoint, and just read the pages about cooking. But I'm sure I'll love the movie!

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  2. I detested the book and in this case it ruined me going to the movie-although I think I probably would have enjoyed the movie.

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  3. We read this book for our book club! We did it actually as a fun project- we were going to read the book and then cook (as a group together) the first and last recipe in the book for dinner! The dinner was a success with Potato soup and a chocolate tart for dessert, but everyone hated the book. Not so much the book, but I think Julie's kitchen... I didn't think it was that bad, and I found it interesting that she decided to blog about her project. I have not scene the movie... You can still read some of her original blog posts here:
    http://blogs.salon.com/0001399/

    I enjoyed reading your thoughts!
    Suzanne

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  4. claire and Esme: I did enjoy the movie and hope you do too.

    Suzanne: Thanks for the link to Julie's blog posts. I'll be interested to see what she says.

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  5. well, at least you guys got me thinking and that is always a good thing!

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  6. I've got this sitting in the "to-review" pile but I'm afraid I'm going to feel the same way as you did. Plus this one is not getting great reviews, which is ironic considering it must have been popular at some point.

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  7. I haven't read this yet but I'm looking forward to it. It sounded like maybe she was just trying to inject a little more of herself into it with the Buffy thing. Not like there probably isn't enough of her already in her own book! :-)

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  8. I like your comments regarding the book and wishing there were more blog posts

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  9. Hello, Harvee! I loved-hated this book. I kept imaging myself screaming at Julie -- "Just get over it!"

    By the way, thank you for asking about us here in Manila. Although I wasn't physically affected by the typhoon, it was so heartbreaking to see all the devastation and the loss brought about by this natural disaster.

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  10. i also did a review on this book. i didn't really like it all that much. i wanted to read it before seeing the movie (i'm waiting for it to come out on dvd now) but i think i'm gonna like it better than the book (well, here's hoping).

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  11. I haven't seen the movie yet, but I do have the book sitting on my shelf. I will definitely read it first.

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  12. I won this book in a giveaway and will receive it soon, so I do not know what to expect.
    I do want to see the movie, heard it was good

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  13. Lisa, Marie, Carol, Madeleine: Hope to hear/read your comments on the book once you have a chance to read it!

    Peter, Michelle: Interesting comments on the book - a love-hate response to the book! I think many people enjoyed the movie, tho.

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