Book Review #1 of 2012

One of my new year’s goals last year that I was pretty fortunate to keep was to read one book a month.  Now, basically, I wanted to read 12 books in 2011.  I’m sure that I didn’t finish each month checking off the book I was reading, but I did try my hardest.  Some months I read more than one, and other months it took forever to get halfway through the one I was in.  When 2011 came to a close though, I was stoked to have read 15 book in the year!

This year I’ve kept that same goal, and started out reading something we found in the cheap-o book bin at our local big-box store.  It was $3, I believe and although I am a lover of technology, there’s just something for me that longs for the spine of a book in my hands versus a digital version.  I was able to finish the first one last night, January 31st.

It’s funny because as one of my goals this year is to make sure to read a book before I watch a movie version, I didn’t even realize this WAS a book when the movie came out.  I watched and consequently LOVED the movie.  I loved both main actresses and the storyline–well, I was hooked!  It spoke to me on several levels, I loved the back-and-forth between the characters and there’s just something about watching a movie with characters that have interests so similar to yours.  Julie and Julia is a favorite of mine.  And the book did not disappoint.

I was hopeful to purchase the original book, but when you find it on clearance, you suck it up and have Amy Adams and Meryl Streep’s face gracing a book on your shelf. A few reasons I loved the movie and consequently the book–I have so much in common with Julie Powell.  Well, not everything.  I don’t live in New York City working as a secretary for a job I hate, I don’t have cats, and I don’t live in a tiny little apartment in Long Island City and ride the subway each day to work.  What I do have however, is a love for cooking and blogging.  And having people over to cook for them.  And stories.  Making lists of things you want to do before a certain time period in your life.  Julie Powell was in her year of turning 30 when she did the experiment.  Cooking through Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cuisine (MtAoFC for short as I quickly learned in the text) in a year.  Trying to balance doing  (one of the many ) things you are passionate about and love with that thing that you do from 9-5, Monday through Friday.  (Not to say I’m not passionate about my “day job”–I just have so many interests and passions it’s hard to find time to fit them all in!) I could be Julie Powell for crying out loud!

What was interesting was reading something from someone whose life is so very different from my own, yet seeing so many similarities laced throughout. Here was this woman, married to the love of her life, no kids (yet) and wanted more.  Wanted fulfillment.  Wanted to find meaning–and looked to food to find it (that’s a whole other blog for another day!)

What I learned in reading this is that even when it was crazy and impossible, she kept going.  Even when recipes looks insane with ingredients I had never even heard of, Julie kept going. When there was no water, Julie kept cooking.  When there was no electricity, Julie didn’t just keep going and just keep cooking, she hosted a flipping dinner party!  What do I do when things aren’t ideal?  Well, the last thing I think about doing is calling all my friends over for a night of laughs and good food.

Julie and Julia (the book) is quite different from the movie, but if you love cooking or just love food, it’s a great read. 


Overall Grade: B

Category: Memoir

The Good: A good story about real people with real normal lives to choose to do something bigger.  Something hard.  Something crazy and outlandish.

The Not So Good:  There is a lot of recipe talk written out.  At times it was like reading a cookbook.  I loved it.  If you aren’t a cook, you might not.  This did make things tend to drag along at times.  It literally took me the entire month to read this book.

Miscellaneous: The language was much rougher than I thought it would be.  Sweet little Julie Powell has quite a mouth on her that doesn’t come out in the movie.