Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The First Book of 2010 - Julie & Julia by Julie Powell

Last year I read a total of 24 books. You can click on the word list to see the list. I know that may seem like a lot but I was home one whole week while I had a radiation treatment for my now non-existent (knocking on wood) thyroid cancer. Because of the radiation I wasn't allowed to be near any human beings other than myself so I had a ton of time to read and blog. You can read my adventures in exile, here, here, here , here, here and here. There were actually six days of my captivity.

This year I haven't had a whole week to just lounge around and glow in the dark, but I've still gotten off to a pretty good start in my reading. So far I have four books under my belt and I'm more than three quarters of the way through book number five.

The first book that I read in 2010 was one given to me by my wonderfully generous and thoughtful daughter April who gave me the book Julie & Julia by Julie Powell. As many of you know this book has been made into a movie and it's a very popular book/movie among food bloggers.

I wanted to read the book first, but I happened to have a weekend early in January where I was bored and just wanted to be a couch potato so I watched the movie first. So this is a double review as I'm going to review the movie and then the book and at times both together.

The story of Julie and Julia is about thirty year old Julie Powell who decides to cook her way through Julia Child's book "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" and blog about it. It chronicles her successes and her mistakes and the changes in her along the way.

I was enchanted with the movie. I loved Amy Adams as Julie Powell. She was sweet, funny, scatter-brained and a complete drama queen...much as I am. Well the scatter-brained drama queen part anyway.

I also loved Meryl Streep (who doesn't?) She was wonderful as Julia Child. At least the Julia Child I remember on TV from my childhood. Watching Meryl I forgot it was Meryl. I only saw Julia. Julia being witty, silly, funny and animated! 

I also loved Stanley Tucci who played Julia's husband Paul. But then again I've always loved Stanley Tucci. I especially loved him in the movie The Devil Wears Prada.

The movie to me was magical and I loved the way it wove itself from scene to scene to the past and then to the present. It was so interesting learning how and when Julia learned to cook. And it was wonderful watching Julie trying to replicate Julia's recipes in a kitchen smaller than my bathroom! The lobster part was hilarious! Just watch this clip.

Was that not hilarious? I love how she screams and runs at the end! After she does that her husband comes to the rescue and puts the lid back on the pot and holds it down.

I would totally recommend the movie. The book however, not so much. I mean it was a good book but I didn't like the Julie in the book as much. And Julia didn't come to life in the book like in the movie.

In the book Julie seems very self-involved and selfish. And parts in the book literally made me sick (those parts were left out of the movie). For instance, here's an excerpt from the book:

          "As I'm turning to go to the bathroom, a tiny movement catches my eye. I look down at the counter, where the drip pan had been sitting. The origin of the legion of flies becomes nauseatingly clear. "Aaaaauuuugghhhhheeeeeeeeeeeeewwwwww!!!!!!!!!" "What?! Jesus, what?" Eric, who's spent the whole morning and into the afternoon cleaning the house, dashes into the kitchen, where he finds me, pale as a ghost, eyes like saucers, the drip pan held out from my body with one hand, pointing with a shaking finger at the counter. "What's the matt-- AUGH!"
          So what exactly does one do when faced with a thriving colony of maggots under one's dish rack? I mean other than shoot up a quick, grateful missive to the heavens for letting you live in a forward thinking time and place, in which one's husband cannot lope off one's breasts and nose for a crime called Depraved Domestic Neglect? Martha Stewart doesn't touch upon this quandry, so far as I know, the maggot one, I mean, so we had to sort of make it up as we went along. We began by hopping up and down in frantic disgust. "

Not too pretty is it? Also Julie Powell worked for a government agency in charge of as she says "filling up the holes left when the towers fell". She speaks very disparagingly about Ground Zero and the many people who would call her with problems ranging from insurance to ideas on what the towers should look like.

So I would recommend the movie very highly if you want to be entertained and enchanted. I would recommend the book only because there is so much missing from the movie that is so interesting about Julia herself.

If you've read it or seen the movie, let me know what you thought of it.


  1. I had no idea that you are a cancer survivor!! Yeah!!! What a neat testimony you have. Praise God for you being healed!!!
    I have not seen the movie, but want too. My sister got the book and did not like it. So that is two people who i value the opinion of, so I will steer clear.:)

  2. Both the book and the movie are IN. I have neither read the book nor watched the movie but I have read some reviews on the movie.

    It seems Food is the main protagonist. Nothing new under the sun: children, dogs and food steal the show.

  3. Alicia, I loved the movie. It was very cute and entertaining. I haven't read the book but the part about the maggots grosses me out. Yuk.

    Wow, I didn't know you survived cancer. That's excellent. I've been depressed lately because my sister has cancer....AGAIN. Last year she had stage three colon cancer and beat that and now we just found out she has cancer again, possibly ovarian or Uterine cancer. I am so scared for her and I feel extremely helpless. I just keep praying.

  4. Braley Mama - Thank you. Yes I'm a cancer survivor and definitely Praise God. I had some scary moments there, but I came through ok and so far so good. Your sister sounds like a smart cookie. Enjoy the movie but don't waste your money on the book.

  5. DUTA - Awww my friend, words of wisdom from you always. Children, dogs and food do steal the show. No wonder there are some many blogs about children, dogs and food !

  6. JarieLyn - I agree, Yuk to the maggots. I can't imagine being a cook and letting your kitchen get so dirty that you actually end up with maggots. Yikes!

    Your sister beat it once, just keep praying she beats it again. I'm so sorry you all have to go through it again. I'll definitely keep you in my prayers. Be strong, I know it's hard and when you need to cry and scream and throw things. One can only be so brave right?

  7. I watched the movie, and I loved it!! I highly recommend it!!!

  8. Alicia - There you go folks! It's highly recommended by two ALICIA'S, you can't get much better than that! Thanks for coming by Alicia!

  9. Well, good to know (about the book being so-so). I'd rather read something highly recommended anyway.

    I've actually SEEN the movie(horray!)...a treat for me, as I'm usually totally behind. I loved it.


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