Top critical review
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Charming movie, ugly book.
on August 14, 2009
Don't buy the book based on your opinion of the movie. I took my niece to see the movie and we loved it - Meryl Streep was, naturally, beyond amazing, while Amy Adams was charming. Nora Ephron was wise to do what she did with this story, because the real Julie Powell is quite insufferable, hardly an ideal role model for waking up one's life.
As far as the foul language goes...a well-placed swear word can add realism and punch to a story, but overuse of profanity by an author is, in this writer's opinion, not only offensive and jarring, but worse, downright lazy. If you have to rely so heavily on swear words, then you're only proving that you are unable to express yourself in print with any degree of finesse.
A lot of reviewers who gave this book a bad rating used the word "whiny." It is not misplaced, I assure you. I love humorous life stories in which a protagonist tries to make sense of things by embarking on journey of self-discovery through a special project, but, rather than being full of fun foibles, poignant moments, and growing insight, this author shows a character who is narcissistic, snobbish and insufferable. I'm not a republican or a Bush fan, either, but I absolutely LOATHE people who exhibit such blatant disrespect for other people's views, opinions, and beliefs (reminds me of Helen Goode on "The Goode Family," who whines to her husband, that it IS good to respect others, just "not them!"). Apparently, if you disagree with Julie Powell, you're just stupid.
I didn't come out of this too badly myself: I enjoyed the movie, am relieved I didn't spend money on the book, and interested in learning more about Julia Child, who sounds like an amazing person as well as an exceptional cook. As far as this trite goes, however...well, now it makes sense to me that Julia Child reacted to it the way she did (I'll give Powell this much: she was very gracious about Child's reaction, though she should be, since Child turned out to be her bread and butter). Too bad such a great idea was handled by such an emotionally immature individual.