Book Review: Julie and Julia by Julie Powell

March 15, 2010
Title: Julie & Julia
Author: Julie Powell
Genre: Non Fiction
Format: Hardcover
Year Published: 2005
Source: I purchased this book


The somewhat controversial Julie and Julia tells the now-famous story of Julie Powell, who was working as a secretary in New York and living in Queens. She was miserable in her job, and didn't know what she wanted to do with her life. On a visit to her parents, she borrowed, er, stole her mother's copy of the Julia Child classic Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
 
After making one of the dishes in the book, Julie decided to make one recipe a day in one year. Her husband suggested that she start a blog. Julie had never even heard of blogs. However the Julie/Julia Project was born.

The book details how Julie managed to finish every recipe within the time allotted. Some turned out very well, and some were disasters. She immediately became an internet star with her blog, which was an instant hit (this was in 2002, and there weren't many blogs yet). 

Part of her popularity was due to her unusual approach to cooking -- her blog was full of feisty, foul-mouthed observations. The book is very interesting, although sometimes her bluntness is quite brutal. She's not afraid to be heavily self-critical, either. She was so obsessed with the project -- because with the popular blog she was afraid not to finish by her self-imposed deadline -- that other things suffered. For instance, her kitchen was so dirty that maggots invaded the kitchen. 

Apparently Julia Child did NOT approve of the project, but it brought Julie Powell a book and movie deal. Here is Julia apparently attempting an audition for The Food Network:




If you are interested in Julia Child and/or cooking, I would recommend that you read it. Julie Powell is a rather controversial figure, because some people think that she became famous from some other person's talent, so your tolerance for the book is based on personal tastes.
 
The book was eventually combined with Julia Child's memoir My Life in France to form the film Julie and Julia, starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams.
 

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