Literary Friday: Julie and Julia

Synopsis according to Goodreads:
"Some people go on pilgrimages; Julie Powell attempted to master one cookbook. Thirty years old, bored with her job, hating her Queens apartment, Powell decided to transcend her life by concocting all 524 recipes in Julia Child's 1961 classic Mastering the Art of French Cooking -- in a single year. Replicating Child's kitchen artistry at such short notice tested Julie's skill and stamina, not to mention her husband's patience; but it did produce a high-spirited, sometimes hilarious memoir."



I enjoyed the movie, which is what moved me to pick up the book. Honestly, I could have just stuck with the movie. It's not that Julie & Julia is bad, it just left me with no emotional takeaway. Julie Powell uses Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and Julia Child, to find meaning in her life. Except that we never see how that's accomplished, if it is in any way, as apparently blogging about such a feat is what REALLY brought meaning to her life (in terms of a job opportunity). What we do see is an often hysterical, quite self-depricating, funny but occasionally too bitter for my tastes 29 year old panicking about getting old and having a crap job. And also about cooking. 


I liked most her explanations about how each recipe was done (as I don't speak French, hearing a firsthand account about stripping marrow from bones, for example was both funny and educational). What I liked least was the fact that she apparently throws tantrums a lot, and in the book she makes no excuses for it (which is fine) but it happens so often that is just seems....pointless. And distracting. I appreciate that she portrayed her marriage as very even-keel and balanced, and she apparently became a tinge less judgmental (of friends, anyway- members of an opposing political party are fair game) by the end of her year-long journey. Also, maybe this bitter cynicism and holier-than-thou crap is a New Yorker thing? In which case, that was educational as well.


In my honest opinion, if you are looking for a "year in the life" book, fascinated by the early days of blogging, or need some support that you are not alone in being frustrated by French cooking, this is a good book to pick up.

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