Genre: Non-fiction, Memoir

Notes: The definition of chick lit.

Review: Cry about it, Julie.  In your tiny apartment kitchen.  While you make gross jello molds of calf’s feet that taste like beef.  Cry yourself to sleep.  And then write a book about how much you cried.

Seriously, it’s not like this book is terrible.  But it kind of reads like one big sob story about how Julie (vastly approaching 30 while working a dead end job as a secretary for a government agency) feels she doesn’t have anything to show for her life.  So, in some insane fit, Julie decided to cook her way through Julia Child’s famous cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  And it’s not a bad idea.  I get wanting to start a project.  I get wanting a creative outlet to get away from work for a bit.  I get waking up and finding yourself living a life you never really imagined for yourself.

It’s not the concept of the book that’s bad.  It’s the execution.

Julie comes off whiny and bitchy.  I don’t know how her husband put up with her for a year.  She screamed about her meringue, she sobbed over her soft boiled eggs, and she threw stuff out of frustration while trying to make mayonnaise.  She means to come off witty and charming with her self-deprecating humor, but it just feels like she tried too hard.  I ended up wanting to shake her, tell her to do the dishes (which she neglects throughout most of the year and gets freaking maggots in her sink), and have sex with her husband.

Julie also overindulges in the TMI category.  Did you want to know Julie Powell once donated eggs to pay off credit card debt?  Or that she has polycystic ovary syndrome and may not be able to have kids?  Oh, well, me neither.  And what does that have to do with her “project?”  It just becomes something she harps her husband about and gives her more fodder for the “woe is me, I’m 30” conversation.  Shut up.

This book follows Julie’s journey of self-discovery.  If you’re interested in hearing about the cooking, the food, or want to learn more about Julia Child, prepare yourself for disappointment.  Julie doesn’t really say anything about how the food tastes, but focuses more on the process of finding difficult foods in the city (canned onions? calf hooves?) and the amount of butter she ingests per day.

Bottom Line: This book doesn’t have a lot of redeeming value, but it did make me want to start a project myself.  I do think Julie accomplished something incredible and needed this journey to find herself.  It reminded me a lot of Eat, Pray, Love (which you can tell from my review that I was not impressed with Gilbert), but the book reads quickly.  Just don’t expect a life-changing read or something that will inspire you.  If you liked Eat, Pray, Love though, you’ll like Julie and Julia.

 

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