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Julie and Julia Book + Movie Review

Julie and Julia by Julie Powell Book Cover

Title: Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously by Julie Powell

Summary / Synopsis: Nearing thirty and trapped in a dead-end secretarial job, Julie Powell decides to reclaim her life through cooking all the recipes in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking within the span of a year.

Warning: This review contains spoilers.

4 Things I Hate About Julie and Julia

It would be difficult for me to write a standard review about Julie and Julia. I have almost nothing to say about either the book or the movie. On a positive note, Julie’s story wasn’t the worst memoir I’ve read. That distinction is still held by Elizabeth Gilbert and her journey to rediscover herself. Now, don’t get me wrong. Julie Powell is definitely annoying, but I still found parts of her story endearing. Unfortunately, not many things in Julie’s story brought me joy in this story.

  • There is NO WAY I would ever want to eat anything prepared by Julie Powell in her Queens apartment. Every time she shared the squalor of her domicile, I wanted to retch. The smell of stale cat litter permeated the apartment. YUCK! Explosions of black goo from the pipes. YUCK! The stench of body funk from going days without running water. YUCK! I would have preferred to read more about French cuisine and less about Julie and Eric’s dirty cat litter-filled home.
  • It was really disappointing with how unsupportive Julie’s mom was with her blogging adventure. I get that it was probably hard for Julie’s mother to understand what a blog is in 2001, but damn! Can’t you support your kid’s creative endeavor for just a minute?! Can’t you encourage your daughter to finish a project, especially when she’s “never finished anything before in her life!” However, I was glad the other people in Julie’s life were very encouraging, especially her husband, which brings me to…
  • Why oh why did we have to have that unnecessary dramatic fight between Julie and Eric in the movie? I hate the movie using the jealous husband trope to cause drama because apparently all movie relationships need drama. It makes me even more upset because there were no such scenarios in the book. Julie’s husband was nothing but supportive and the perfect sous chef for Julie’s culinary adventures. If there were no crazy blowups in the book, then having it happen in the movie seems disingenuous because the Julie in the book was WAAAAAAAAY more annoying than the Julie in the movie.
  • Another disappointment from the book was the lack of Julia Child. Yes, there was mention of Julia. There were the letters from Paul sprinkled throughout the story, but that wasn’t enough for me. First of all, I could have done without those letters because they really served no purpose. Secondly, if you were going to insert Paul’s letters, then there should have been more letters. If the book is called Julie and Julia, then give me more Julia.

1 Thing I Love About Julie and Julia

  • Turning this Hater’s Ball around, I will say I’m happy with the movie’s take on Julie and Julia. I have to admit that I actually preferred the movie to the book. I KNOW! You heard it here first, people! Mark this day on your calendar. It may never happen again. The main reason I prefer the movie over the book in this case is simply the inclusion of Julia Child and how she came to be. I also loved the parallel of Julie and Julia both working to find themselves and their own happiness through the love of food and cooking. Basically, the movie is Julie and Julia. The book is the Julie/Julia Project. I enjoyed the former more than the latter.

Overall Opinion

The book was a constant up and down for me, but I mostly enjoyed it in the end. If you want to read a foodie version of a Carrie Bradshaw column, then Julie and Julia is a must read for you. If you want to learn more about Julia Child, then this book is definitely not for you. You will learn more about her during the movie. This may be the first time where I actually prefer the movie over the book because the movie told the story of both women as they came into their own.

I wouldn’t say I hated reading Julie and Julia, but I definitely didn’t love it. The book was enjoyable for the most part. There were some times when I found the story infuriating, mostly due to how annoying Julie was acting at the moment. I would put the movie on more of the sweet side than the salty side because most of the story from the book was adapted well. The saltiness is due to jealous husband Eric blowing a gasket at Julie. It was out of place and unnecessary. I am not a fan of inserting drama into a story just for the sake of drama. Rating: Laborious Literature / Kettle Korn

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