Julie and Julia

My Year of Cooking Dangerously

Fiction - Audiobook
Audio Book
Reviewed on 07/11/2009
Buy on Amazon

    Book Review

Reviewed by Anne Boling for Readers' Favorite

Julie and Julia is the true story of the author’s goal to find herself. She sets out on a quest to learn how to cook like the master, Julia Child. With a cookbook propped up on her counter, she slowly begins the learning process. The meals are not always successful but that is not important because they create laughter. Following her journey is family, friends and the world. Each day she shares the previous day’s results and shares the title of the next adventure.
I listened to this audio book more than once. I did not like Julie. She whined throughout the book. I am not sure how her husband put up with her. Her vulgar language was unnecessary and added nothing to the book. She lived and cooked in filth. I did find some things I liked about this book. 1. The author has a wonderful voice. 2. The author was brutally honest about herself including her flaws and imperfections. 3. Powell had me laughing on more than one occasion. The plot has great potential.

Jessica martin

I've been a Julia Child fan for a long time, so when I stumbled on this book (I'm behind the literary times here; I know it's been out for a while, and her blog was written years ago), I was skeptical. I thought it sounded gimmicky. But thanks to the free sample option on my kindle, I read the beginning of the book. And I loved it! So I downloaded it and absolutely devoured the rest of it in a matter of hours, and there was nothing my newborn or my two year old (or my husband, for that matter) could do to stop me.
Now, you have to know what this book is, and what it is not. It's not a rehashing of JC's recipes, or an assessment whether the author succeeded or failed in her attempts to make all 524 recipes in Mastering the Art of French Cooking in one year. It's not a paean to Julia Child, or to french cooking in general, or an attempt by the author to toot her own horn over her culinary skills (except for the deboned duck, which was well warranted); after reading about her filthy kitchen, as a matter of fact, I'm not sure ANYONE should eat Julie Powell's cooking, french or not. What this book is, is a memoir by a young woman lost and full of no small amount of despair in her everyday life. And she found purpose and enthusiasm for her life thanks to Julia Child. Does that sound hokey? Maybe. But Julie Powell pulls it off, and she does it in a damn funny and engaging way. Her voice is fresh and real; she sounds just like who she is: an almost 30-something. She swears; she's irreverent; she throws tantrums not unlike the ones I wanted to throw when I was her age.
Some reviewers have objected to her language, but balls to that. And some have said she is disrespectful towards Republicans and about 9/11. She certainly is bitter and ascerbic towards the GOP and its supporters, and when you put this in historical context, it makes absolute sense, especially for her age group. On the matter of 9/11, I think that's just over it. She's a New Yorker; she lived it, and continued to have to face the repercussions of it every day thanks to the job that she had. She just doesn't have the reverence for 9/11 that so many do - and I think that it's justified. In any case, it's a small part of the book. Another reviewer says that they walked away feeling that Julie didn't even like Julia Child. This reviewer must not have read the book, or at least very much of it, because it's very, very clear throughout that Julie admires and even adores Julia, so much so that she basically creates an imaginary friend Julia Child for herself, to keep herself going. I love it. I think its a beautiful tribute to a woman who lived life with verve.
I'm really looking forward to hearing more from this authentic and hilarious author. Way to go, Julie! I hold my vodka gimlet high in your honor!

Brooklyn Bookworm

Terrific book about New York City, marriage, family, careers (or lack thereof), blogging and, oh yes, a bit about cooking. There are a lot of negative reviews of the hardcover version from readers who thought it was a serious food memoir or even a cookbook. The paperback version has modified the title and it is packaged in a "chick lit" style. I'm not usually a fan of serious food books, or of chick lit, but I do live in NYC and am a JC fan. I loved this book and found it laugh out loud funny and am giving it to several friends and family. Very highly recommended.

Christopher Tessone

After reading The Perfectionist, which I found rather one-dimensional and joyless, turning to Julie Powell's account of cooking through Mastering the Art of French Cooking was quite a treat. It was refreshing to find she does not take herself too seriously, and I found myself wishing I'd known about the blog while she was doing The Project (as she calls it). One can tell that reading the book is a different, less personal experience than the day-to-day account on the blog must have been.

In any case, although there isn't an overwhelming amount of technical detail about the dishes Powell prepared, it's interesting to follow her journey through one of the best-known cookbooks, seeing her development both as a cook and a human being. Definitely recommended -- a very enjoyable read.

tmodc

Ok. This review will probably explain the negative ratings this book has been getting, in which a movie is being made that came out august 7st. First of all THIS IS ONLY HALF OF WHAT THE MOVIE IS ABOUT!!! The other half is another book by Julia Childs named "My life in France". THOSE TWO BOOKS MAKE UP THE BASIS FOR THE WHOLE MOVIE". Yes I do agree that it's misleading, specially for anyone that watched the movie trailer. It makes you think that this book is completely based fo the movie. Now, I have read this book and yes it's too political for a cooking blog, too x-rated and a little off track when you really want to know about the cooking experiment process. But hey, it's her book and pretty much I don't blame her as she is trying to explain how her thoughts got formulated. And to tell you the thruth i believe this book is twice as long as it should be. So many details so many dead trees. The author Julie Powell did indeed took on a great culinary odyssey. And to match her enthusiasm for writing this book came about. Overall I give this book (3)three stars so the simple reason that it took me twice as long to read, cause of the unnecessary details.

PS. halfway thru the book I switched to Julia Child's My Life in France and a more interested read. I finished that book in no time and a very enjoyable.

This has been an honest opinion.

Virginia Wolf

This book was recommended to me by a friend who said little to convince me to read it. I promptly forgot the title. Months later, I was trolling the shelves of a bookstore one day, saw the paperback, ignored it, forgot which shelf it was on, decided to go back to it, became frantic because I couldn't remember where it was, treked through the store retracing my steps to find it at last. I bought it and began reading it. I just finished it.

It's all about Julie and her personal commitment to a goal. Her quest of making 524 Julia Child's recipes in 365 days would never enter the minds of 99.9% of goal setters - including master chefs. However, it is Julie's goal and she does achieve it. She includes friends, family and the world at large making herself vulnerable and allowing them all to observe her either personally or through her daily blog. Somehow, she doesn't say exactly how - she even gets the attention of the media and Julia Child herself.

Her writing reflects the world surrounding her as she often doggedly flails away at each recipe - including her less than desirable government secretarial job, co-workers, home, family, pets, friends, political climate, post 9/11 New York.

I came to know and like Julie and her alter ego, Julia, who comes to exist in Julie's brain. Julie's Julia lives in another time and world. Her Julia is brash, adventuresome, young, healthy and bold.These are all traits Julie displays herself as she goes through this year with a 40-year-old cookbook. She finds Julia and finds herself. She is an explorer/adventurer with the mouth of a sailor. That's okay, because that is Julie and she reveals herself through her honest writing.

Julie endeared herself to me - I am way past thirty years of age - but I can remember the trials and tribulations of being 29 going on 30. You just have to love someone who wears a Madonna bustier/corset to work and then goes home to work barefoot in her little NY kitchen to perform culinary miracles with a calf's brain, butter, cream and wine.

No, this is not a cookbook - if you want that - take a trip to a bookstore and buy yourself one. This is a memoir of a year spent in self-discovery - as complicated as the recipes in Julia Child's masterpiece of French cookery.

Sapphire

I absolutely loved this book. I got it last Thurs (8/6) and finished it Saturday morning (8/8). I was sorry to see it end. I almost didn't buy it because of many critical negative comments posted here. I found most of the comments to be totally off-base. After reading the book, I am wondering if maybe many of those negative comments were from conservative republican extremist types who didn't like Julie's occasional digs at their ilk. The many comments about profanity also puzzled me. Yeah, she threw in the f-word here and there. But, it certainly wasn't gratuitous! I am surprised at how easily offended many of the readers of this book were. I don't get it. If you are at all open-minded and enjoy life and cooking then I whole-heartedly endorse this quick, easy, joyful, happy read! Just enjoy and don't take anything in the book (or yourself) too seriously!

A. W. Hungaski

I just had to write a small rebuttal to all of the reviewer outrage about "9/11 victims" not being treated politically correctly in Julie Powell's book. Her contempt is NOT for the victim's of 9/11, but rather for the general public and their suggestions for what to do with ground zero and how to create a memorial for the victims of 9/11 which is ENTIRELY different. Her contempt is for public officials who use national sorrow for political ends- please these are honorable and relatable attitudes.

This is a very funny book- funnier for the down-to-earth not highly edited (another critisizm I kept reading) writing.

It is also NOT a cookbook- its about the EXPERIENCE of cooking as its actually had by millions of us amature and enthusiastic cooks and how the whole experience of dealing with food and feeding and eating with others can transform you.

Yes, Julie is foul-mouthed and flippant, but she has cojones and genuine and honest relationships with her parents, spouse and friends. Plus she's frickin hilarious!!!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, but a classic worth reading at least once every 5 years, it isn't. I agree with all of the reviewers out there that this is a library borrow, not a buy- but I borrow 99% of all of the books I read from the library.

K. Burns

There were some funny moments, but on the whole I found this book a bit disappointing. As I read it, I was surprised about how much of the focus was on how annoying she found her project. Oh well. I'm glad I read it, just wish it had been a bit more fulfilling for me.

L. davies

Since some readers apparently felt misled by the title, let me clarify -- this is not a book about recipes. It's not a book about Julia Child. If you're expecting a how-to, step-by-step cooking story, you've been seriously misinformed.

Instead, it's about a woman who, on a whim, decided to undertake a quixotic and arduous task, and who kept a journal of her feelings as she did so. It's about the author's life, her husband, her job, her friends, her family, and politics. It's about moving a couch as much as it is about cooking.

It's written in a humorously sarcastic style and reflects the author's candid observations about life. She's both introspective, and wry. She definitely has no love for the president, or Republicans in general. If that puts you off, this isn't the book for you.

I also agree that she appears to be quite high strung and that the intense focus on her feelings to the almost complete exclusion of everything else can get a little tiresome.

I enjoy memoirs, however, even when (perhaps especially when) the protagonist is flawed and human. If you like David Sedaris and Augusten Burroughs, you'll no doubt enjoy this as much as I did.

DanaW

Like many other readers, I thought this book was going to be about food. I don't do Julia Child-style gourmet cooking; it frustrates me more often than not, but I do like a good bit of food writing and this is not it. It's a memoir of sorts and a vent for the writer's self-absorbed angst. Not that most people don't have similar moments, but most people don't write about them either. The pettish slaps at Republicans(otherwise kind, intelligent people who still vote Republican? please) get old after about three such intervals and the frank discussion of friends' sex lives as well as her own-well, it's just not what I was looking for.

C Mitt

I like to cook and Julia Child is one of my heroes (also because she had fun cooking), but I was a little disappointed to find this book "Julie and Julia" to be not enough about the recipes and too much about some ditsy chick and her ditsy companions I just never cared about. Julie also turns out to be a rather profane person, with plenty of obscenities and lewd depictions thrown in - why?