I love foodie books. And since I've seen the movie for this one, of course I had to read the book. It wasn't too bad, a little strange, but there was a lot of food involved which is always good.
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Julie is a secretary who hates her job and sometimes wonders if her life is going anywhere. When she off handedly mentions to her husband that she should cook her way through Julia Child's The Art of French Cooking, he replies that she should write a blog. So she does. She has to cook over 500 recipes in just a year, and some of them can be vastly complicated like deboning a duck. She has trials and tribulations throughout the year, has to deal with her meltdowns and her friends strange happenings, and still keep her marriage together. It is a task for the ages. Interspersed with her goings ons are letters and little stories about Paul and Julia Child in which she tries to take from letters what might have happened.
Since this is a real life book I can't really comment on characters per say. However, Julie includes some rather unusual things in this book that make her personality stand out. For instance, she mentions a lot about wanting to have a baby and gynecologist's telling her she has a syndrome and should start the baby making soon. This comes up so much and is kind of weird for a foodie book, but I suppose this is also a book about her and that's where it comes into play. Her husband doesn't actually have as large of a part in this book and sometimes I think she talks about her brother more. Neither were very interesting to me anyway though.
The writing is good. Sarcastic, funny, and filled with some very well written food scenes. She has a tendency to cuss quite a bit though and compare things to sex, which might offend some readers. Also, for those who are Republicans, be warned, Julie is not your biggest fan. None of these things really effected me though and I enjoyed the book except for some of the grosser scenes which just turned my stomach. I also could have used less melt downs being described and more happy cooking moments being mentioned. I do like that she shared some of the techniques for cooking these dishes as well.
This book has definitely made me want to go out and get Julia Child's cookbook. Its not that I think I'll ever use it, but now I've got to see it in person. And Julie's blog, I think that would be worth reading as well. If you like food, tension, and Julia Child, this might be a good book for you!
Julie & Julia
Review by M. Reynard 2011