Julie Powell is a person I most certainly would not want to meet.
The book is not bad at all but Julie Powell comes off as a not very likable person. Her style is witty and entertaining but her whining and her obsession with sexuality didn’t really suit the story. While the whining and I’m-not-good-enough-for-anything-parts were only annoying, the times when she talks about sex and likens cooking to it range from out of place to plain disturbing I’m referring to the episode with her parents sex book. Yes, you read that correctly. Sex book.
However, once she’s done with these things and starts to talk about cooking, writing, her family and friends and Julia Child it gets interesting and actually entertaining.
All in all I would have much rather read the original blog entries (unfortunately the blog has been taken off the web fairly recently). The way this book is made up tends to be confusing at times because the author sums up several days (sometimes weeks) and recipes in one chapter and it’s easy to lose focus on where we are on the timeline of the experiment. Also sometimes it reads like a string of anecdote after anecdote and I got the feeling the blog entries would have been a bit more coherent.
Nevertheless it was a fast and fun read and the good parts were actually really good. Most people probably know that this book was made into a movie. The things I liked about the movie (the parts about cooking, about living in New York and about Julie’s friends and family) have their place in the book. These parts are well-written and more elaborate than a 2-hour movie allows. So in this case the book is recommendable.
The chapters are interwoven with the development of the relationship between Julia Child and her husband. How they met and fell in love and how she found her passion for cooking. Once again I have to refer to the movie. This was done much better on screen. In the book these short chapters tend to disrupt the story. I admit I only skimmed the last few Julia Child episodes because I just didn’t find them very interesting.
My advice is don’t read this book if you want to know about Julia Child. But read it if you like cooking, family stories and can tolerate women whining about turning thirty.
Question: Is it really this hard to get sugar cubes in the US? I was amazed by that fact...