Tuesday, April 20, 2010


I just finished reading Julie Powell's Julie & Julia - the book that reached fanatical proportions after being turned into a screenplay last year by Nora Ephron. 

And to think it all started with a blog.  Heh heh.

I'm not setting off to be the next Julie Powell - I have no purpose in writing these posts except for self-fulfillment, for starters.  She, on the other hand, had a goal, an idea, a project and followed it through to the end (she also kind of sort of destroyed what seemed like a great marriage, but that's for her next book, Cleaving, which is also on my list of to-reads). 

Basically, Julie was stuck in a situation a lot of us in our early-mid-late-20s/30s can relate to: bored and complacent with her job as a temp/secretary for a goverment agency, bored and complacent with her fabulous New York City life, bored and complacent with her wonderful husband ... you get the picture ... when she suddenly had an idea to make her life a little less boring.  She decided to cook every single recipe in Julia Child's Mastering The Art Of French Cooking in a year, feeding her friends and family, tottering on the edge of insanity, and walking down the path of self-discovery and all that blah blah blah in the process. 

As a project, I was really impressed by Julie's determination and guts.  As a person and a book?  Not so much.  I liked to think I'd instantly bond with her "voice" throughout - which is not dissimilar to my own personality, that is, witty, bitchy, and unkind.  But instead of LOL-ing at her invectives and wit, I chuckled nervously, thinking that if I ever met her, I'd be on the receiving end of a sneer or sarcastic remark.  I felt uncomforable about the way she interacted with and treated her husband (though I'm not sure if this was the truth or down to plain self-deprecation).  As a story, it's not as well told as some of the other blog-cum-books I've read, such as Jen Lancaster's Bright Lights, Big Ass: A Self-Indulgent, Surly Ex-Sorority Girl's Guide to Why It Often Sucks in the City, or Who Are These Idiots and Why Do They All Live Next Door to Me? (yeah, I know, the title totally speaks for itself, isn't that, like, amazing?). 

The impression that I got of Julie in this book was that she's one of those girls who elbows everyone out of the way to get in front and once there, she looks around satisfactorily, surveying her possessions then discarding as quickly as she gained.  Which is fine, as it's just my impression and doesn't mean anything.  For all I know, the real Julie's nothing like that.  Too bad that impression overshadowed the entire premise of the book, however - to work one's way through Mastering The Art of French Cooking in 365 days.

Photo source


  1. I watched the film when I was on the plane back from the States a month ago and was NOT impressed. I couldn't stand the main character Julie - I kept feeling we were supposed to identify with her and her 'quirkiness' and blablabla, whereas all I wanted to do was throw a book at her. She was whiney, overly dramatic, didn't seem super smart and mainly was a real b#tch to her poor lovely husband. Poor guy.

  2. Yeah, she mentions only about 42 times throughout the book (that's a rough estimate, she probably only said it about 3 times but it seemed like a lot) how she met her husband in high school and poor her, her love/sex life is SO unexciting b/c she's been with the same person all this time, blah blah. Yes, poor you, you have a husband who dotes on you and loves you despite your (clear) foibles and you're sitting here bitching and feeling sorry for yourself? Again, giving her the benefit of the doubt, maybe that's just the way she wants to portray it but I doubt it.

  3. Wait she says that in the book? Are they still married?? If yes, poor guy (again). Actually even if they're not married anymore, still poor guy.

  4. Yeah she mentions how jealous she is of all her friends and goes overboard in baking cookies and cakes for that actor she's obsessed with. It's OTT.


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