Julie & Julia by Julie Powell: Review

Friday, July 10, 2009 Posted by Dina N

I was very excited about reading Julie Powell's book, Julie & Julia. I have to tell you - it did not disappoint! In this autobiographical book, Julie, a 29-year old secretary with a dreadful government job, decides to spend a year cooking every recipe from Julia Child's legendary Mastering the Art of French Cooking. And - as a blogger, I find this pure genius! - blogs about it.

Julie's journey is hilarious, filled with mishaps and successes. The complicated French recipes sound foreign and exotic - until Julie translates them into plain English and makes them seem somehow less complicated, even when they are quite challenging. As someone who has taken a few years of French lessons, I loved reading aloud the names of all these recipes in French, just to hear how they sounded.

Somehow, between cooking over 500 dishes of seafood, beef, pork, and desserts, Julie escapes the boredom of her daily grind and finds excitement, even - dare I say it? - joie de vivre. Julia Child and her French cooking change Julie's life. She becomes somewhat of a celebrity, interviewed on national television. The New York Times food critic comes to dinner! As in every good story, there is drama and comedy, triumph and failure, as Julie stubbornly conquers one recipe after another. She makes all 524 in 365 days, just as she planned. And her lucky bleaders (blog readers) are with her every step of the way - just like the readers of her book will. Julie's cooking adventure is inspiring, and I was rooting for her and hoping for a happy ending. Indeed, she learns more than the art of French cooking - she learns the art of living with joy.

Oh yeah, I did look up Julie's blog! Although fascinating, this is not the blog where Julie documented her cooking adventure. The first entry is from August 2005 when she had already finished writing the book. I was somehow disappointed - but hey, I did read the book, so I know all about The Project now. And I need to let you in on a little secret - Julie's second book, Cleaving, will be published this December.

Read this delicious and delightful book - and you can go see the movie next month, too. Julie & Julia premiers in August, and I plan to watch it! Amy Adams stars as Julie, and Meryl Streep as Julia.

In the meantime, you might be one of the five lucky winners of a copy of Julie & Julia! Enter my giveaway - ends July 13.

Thanks to Hachette Book Group for this review opportunity.

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