Julie & Julia
is the story of Julie Powell's attempt to revitalize her marriage, restore her ambition, and save her soul by cooking all 524 recipes in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I
, in a period of 365 days. The result is a masterful medley of Bridget Jones' Diary
meets Like Water for Chocolate
, mixed with a healthy dose of original wit, warmth, and inspiration that sets this memoir apart from most tales of personal redemption.
When we first meet Julie, she's a frustrated temp-to-perm secretary who slaves away at a thankless job, only to return to an equally demoralizing apartment in the outer boroughs of Manhattan each evening. At the urging of Eric, her devoted and slightly geeky husband, she decides to start a blog that will chronicle what she dubs the "Julie/Julia Project." What follows is a year of butter-drenched meals that will both necessitate the wearing of an unbearably uncomfortable girdle on the hottest night of the year, as well as the realization that life is what you make of it and joy is not as impossible a quest as it may seem, even when it's -10 degrees out and your pipes are frozen.
Powell is a natural when it comes to connecting with her readers, which is probably why her blog generated so much buzz, both from readers and media alike. And while her self-deprecating sense of humor can sometimes dissolve into whininess, she never really loses her edge, or her sense of purpose. Even on day 365, she's working her way through Mayonnaise Collee and ending the evening "back exactly where we started--just Eric and me, three cats and Buffy...sitting on a couch in the outer boroughs, eating, with Julia chortling alongside us...."
Inspired and encouraging, Julie and Julia is a unique opportunity to join one woman's attempt to change her life, and have a laugh, or ten, along the way. --Gisele Toueg
From Publishers Weekly
Powell became an Internet celebrity with her 2004 blog chronicling her yearlong odyssey of cooking every recipe in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking
. A frustrated secretary in New York City, Powell embarked on "the Julie/Julia project" to find a sense of direction, and both the cooking and the writing quickly became all-consuming. Some passages in the book are taken verbatim from the blog, but Powell expands on her experience and gives generous background about her personal life: her doting husband, wacky friends, evil co-workers. She also includes some comments from her "bleaders" (blog readers), who formed an enthusiastic support base. Powell never met Julia Child (who died last year), but the venerable chef's spirit is present throughout, and Powell imaginatively reconstructs episodes from Child's life in the 1940s. Her writing is feisty and unrestrained, especially as she details killing lobsters, tackling marrowbones and cooking late into the night. Occasionally the diarist instinct overwhelms the generally tight structure and Powell goes on unrelated tangents, but her voice is endearing enough that readers will quickly forgive such lapses. Both home cooks and devotees of Bridget Jones–style dishing will be caught up in Powell's funny, sharp-tongued but generous writing.
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