Julie & Julia by Julie Powell
When I heard this book was based on a blog about cooking every recipe in Julie Child’s Mastering The Art Of French Cooking, I thought I would be in for a daily dose of lifestyle inspiration and culinary education on how a 30 year old woman could transform her life by following specified recipes. Instead I got a narrative that went:
I hate my job. I’ll start a year long cooking project because my husband taught me the word “blog”. It’s Day 2 and I’ve got comments on my blog already (what?). It’s some time later in the year; apparently my blog has a lot of readers and apparently I’ve been cooking hundreds of recipes because I’m being interviewed in The New York Times and appearing on national TV. One week left to go, over 500 recipes done, but I’ve only mentioned 4 of them. Project over! I quit my job and now write for a living.
I thought this book would be more like the blog. I should say a blog because I haven’t actually read the Julie/Julia Project blog. The book doesn’t even explain why or how she started the project. Okay, I just read her blog and she didn’t explain it there either. The book reads a lot like the blog actually: neither of them are particularly blog-like or particularly book-like. There’s some lifestyle expositioning and some expounding on thoughts, but not enough of either to form a compelling blog or a compelling book narrative – it’s a combination book & blog that doesn’t use the best aspects of either form.
I’d be pissed if I was a secretary reading this book.
Nearing thirty and trapped in a dead-end secretarial job, Julie Powell resolved to reclaim her life by cooking, in the span of a single year, every one of the 524 recipes in Julia Child’s legendary Mastering The Art Of French Cooking. Her unexpected reward: not just a newfound respect for calves’ livers and aspic, but a new life – lived with gusto.