TBR: Julie and Julia

The Julie/Julia Project was the first blog I ever read, back when I didn’t really know what a blog was.  I think someone posted a link to it on one of my email lists, several months into the project, and I read a few posts and was hooked.  In it, Julie Powell documented her attempt to cook every single recipe in Volume 1 of Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking in the course of a year.  She wrote about the dishes that turned out great and the dishes that she tortured her friends with, the days when she was interviewed on television and the days when she didn’t get home from work until 8 pm and had to start cooking a dish that takes at least 3 hours to cook.

So, I really wanted to like Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen.  But I didn’t.  It wasn’t as funny as the blog, didn’t have the detailed information about the food and, of course, didn’t have the element of uncertainty that was in the blog.  By the very fact that I was holding the book in my hand, I knew that Julie finished the project, got a nice book contract, and was even able to quit her crappy government job.

Maybe the book would be more compelling to someone who hadn’t read the blog and so hadn’t heard many of the most interesting stories already.  But I’m not sure.  One of the recurring themes in both the blog and the book is the crappy little kitchen that Julie had to work in.  In the blog, she mentioned several times that it’s so small that she had to perch her food processor on top of the trash can.  That’s a wonderful image, bringing the scene to life.  She never uses it in the book.  What happened?

Last week, Julie was quoted in the NY Times as saying that she no longer searches for herself on blogs.  I hope that’s true, because I feel mean for saying negative things about the book when I got so much pleasure from the blog.

4 Responses to “TBR: Julie and Julia”

  1. Pink Says:

    As someone who never read Julie’s blog and just finished reading the book, I definitely came at it from a different perspective. Before reading it, I assumed the book would be just a re-working of her blog, but I liked that while she occasionally excerpted the posts, it was more “big picture.” It certainly wasn’t earth-shaking prose, but I enjoyed her journey from someone who had no focus in her life to someone who had a focus, but then realized that the focus was more about having a focus than the focus itself–does that make sense? Coming at a time when I’m questioning my focus in life, it was a good read for me.
    But, like seeing a movie after you’d read the book, I can imagine that reading a book based on a blog could mean you’re in for a let-down. Good thing I don’t have that book deal yet. ;)

  2. Mary Says:

    I enjoyed her book a lot, but I never read her blog so maybe that’s why. I read another negative critique of her book today; the reviewer wrote that it read too much like a blog and that it didn’t work. That’s exactly why I liked it. It reminded me of reading a book of cartoons–you get the big picture all at once and don’t have to wait for the little daily dose.
    I certainly admire her for the book deal and her new life as a writer.

  3. Mary Says:

    You know… another thing the other reviewer wrote was that the book seemed unedited. But you’re saying that lots of good things were edited out. Interesting.

  4. terrilynn Says:

    I just finished it and while I liked it, I didn’t love it like I did the blog. Maybe it’s inevitable since, as you mentioned, I knew going in that she had a happy ending.
    One thing that the book did that the blog didn’t was to just gross me out. The descriptions of the filthiness of her tiny kitchen were very vivid.

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