When Julie Powell is at a crossroads in her life, she turns to Julia Child for comfort and guidance. Pushing thirty, married with no kids, Julie hates her job and finds herself listless in New York. Chancing upon Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Julie gives herself a challenge to get through all 524 recipes in the book in 1 year. With a mix of spunk, histrionics, and yummy feasts, she manages to get through the year, sanity in tact.
My first introduction to Julia Child, believe it or not, was seeing the movie Julie & Julia in theaters. I’ve been a huge fan of Julia Child since. Although I’ve been wanting to read this memoir for the past few years, reviews on LibraryThing and GoodReads did a good job of scaring me away from the book based solely on the negative reactions to Julie Powell as a person.
That being said, I finally picked up the book, because it is memoirs-month on the Cupcake Challenge Calendar. In fairness, I didn’t see all that much profanity in the book. Not enough to really bother me. Personally I don’s swear, but I didn’t think she did it that much throughout the book. Her personality is a bit kooky, to put it nicely. She beats up on herself, and seems to suffer break-downs on a daily basis. Part of me wonders if she’s really that unstable, or if she’s just embellishing for the sake of the book? Only Eric would know, I suppose. I didn’t really find the content of her rants as annoying as the length of the rants themselves. They were long, rambling run-on sentences and I really wish her editor had down his/her job and put an end to it. I skimmed a few sections because I could the sentence taking up half the page!
There were significant differences between the book and the movie, and at times it felt like a completely different experience. I’m not sure which I prefer, I think they both have enough merit and humor to stand on their own. In the book, we learn more about her life, her childhood in Texas, her troubles with child-bearing, her quirky collection of friends, and how much she hates her government job. I found most of her writing to be really funny. Maybe its just my sense of humor? Maybe it’s because as a 28-year-old, I am now where she was in 2002, so I can readily relate to her. I could definitely relate to her exhilaration at starting a blog, getting excited about comments and coming up with regular content.
The movie is automatically better, if only because of Meryl Streep as Julia Child. Julie Powell in the movie, played by Amy Adams, is more toned down, her breakdowns are more adorable than annoying, and her personality is more sweet than sharp.
Either way, I enjoyed the memoir almost because of her flaws. It gets annoying reading memoirs of the perfectly perfect anyways.