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Sunday, December 5, 2010

Novel: Julie and Julia

Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously
By: Julie Powell
My Rating: 3/5 stars

Julie Powell is feeling unsatisfied with her job.  On a visit to her parents' home, she finds her mother's old copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child.  She decides to cook every recipe in the book within a span of one year and keep a blog of her journey.  Along the way, she encounters a range of emotions including frustration, joy, defeat and elation.

I had very high hopes for this book.  I had been wanting to read it for a long time.  I finally decided to pick it up.  When I finished the book, I had mixed emotions.  The book does not relate to her blog or the recipes as much as I had thought it would. 

I found Julie to be a little whiny.  I understand that the project was difficult.  I know that I personally would not have been able to endure cooking some of the recipes.  With that said, she spent more time expressing the frustrations of the project instead of the high points.  I would have also enjoyed more character development and interaction with her husband and friends.  They were a big part of her life and I didn't feel like I really knew them.  Although, I can't say that I really know Julie all that well either. 

As I stated before, I wish the story would have related to the recipes and cooking experiences a little more.  The project, while the main point of the story, seemed to take a backseat to Julie's other experiences.  There was more detail about her job than I felt was needed.  I would have enjoyed reading more about her feelings and experiences with specific recipes.  A few were included, but many more could have been.

I will say that this story did inspire me to break out of my comfort zone and try new recipes.  Julie was able to try something she knew little about.  With dedication, she managed to complete every recipe (although she will say that some were definitely not completed well).  She passes on a message that anything is possible, which I think is something we all need to be reminded of from time to time. 

I gave this novel three stars because I did enjoy reading it.  It definitely wasn't a favorite and I don't plan on rereading it.  I can't even say that I would recommend that my friends read it.  If it's already on your to-read list, I suggest giving it a try.  If it's not already on your list, I don't suggest adding it.  There are plenty of other great novels out there!

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