book report: Julie Powell; Julie & Julia

18 December 2006, 7:01 pm

I read this at least partly to challenge my own preconceptions about what kind of books I read. This is a non-cookbook about cooking — worse, French cooking, although I didn’t realize quite how meat-intensive it would actually be.

But it’s also a book about a crazy challenge — specifically, cooking every recipe in Julia Child’s massive Mastering the Art of French Cooking in the span of a year. And it’s a book that derives in part from an online journal and explores the metatextual ground where autobiography turns into fiction. As Powell confesses in the Author’s Note, “sometimes I just made stuff up.” These are much more interesting aspects to me. Powell also discusses the negative aspects of her marriage with a candor that I’d find distressing if it were applied to me, but grimly intriguing when it’s directed at someone else. Of course, some of her digs at her husband could be among the parts of the book that are more fiction than not, but she provides ample evidence that she has a sharp and sometimes careless tongue.

Bottom line? I laughed, I cringed, my stomach turned. I feel like i was rewarded for stepping a bit outside my literary comfort zone.

2 comments on “book report: Julie Powell; Julie & Julia”

  1. Editrix

    So: needs more marrow?

  2. summervillain

    haw!

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