Saturday, 10 April 2010

Julie & Julia by Julie Powell (audio book)

I didn't enjoy this book.  I tried to.  I even wanted to.  I kept hearing from others how much they loved it.  Heck, there is even a movie made from the book.  It just didn't work with me.  Perhaps it was the audio version.  It was read by the author, and very few authors read their own works.  I found Julie's voice very heavy and plodding, almost as if she didn't want to be there reading this book.  This is in contrast to her interview with the producer at the end of the last chapter where her voice is light and animated.  I'm sure if she had read the book in that voice I'd have had a different experience. 

The concept of the story is terrific.  Spend a year and cook all the recipes in Julia Child's monumentous 'Mastering the Art of French Cooking' and then blog about it. I wanted to hear more about Julia Child, more about the skills Julie acquired while cooking, but mostly I heard the whining.  Whining about her job, her apartment, it's bad plumbing and her husband.  Not what I wanted to hear.  She tried to be funny, but I didn't laugh even once in the five plus hours that it took to listen to the complete book.  My daughter sat beside me for one drive of one and one half hours and she broke into laughter several times.  Guess the book would work for her.

While the book didn't amuse me nor entertain nor enlighten me, I found it did work on one level.  At the beginning of the book Julie seemed depressed/unhappy with her life.  She seemed to be looking for a way to 'get it together' and that's why she turned to this project.  It seemed to give her the control that she needed at that time.  By the end of the book she did seem more confident and definitely in control.  Great success there.  If I had read this book from a psychology case study point of view I might have thought it was really good and helpful. 

The Julie & Julia Blog site
Thanks to Hachette Book Group for the cover photo.

15 comments:

Marie said...

Good honest review. I have this book on my bookshelf, but I probably won't get to it for some time. I'll let you know if I have more luck.

Beth F said...

I have heard mixed reviews on this. I liked the movie okay -- but I mostly liked the parts about Julia Child! I should give Julie and Julia a try . . . just because. I'll be sure to read it. I rarely like authors reading their own work.

Anya said...

This is one case where I truly feel that the movie was so much better than the book! It's usually the other way around...

(M)ary said...

I read the book and liked it although I found her premise that her life was 'going nowhere' to be New York City pretentious. It seemed as if having a steady job, a husband and place to live isn't enough in NYC. It implies that anyone who is not wildly successful is a loser.

Nevertheless, I liked the book; tried seeing the movie but couldn't enjoy it. In the movie the Julia Childs storyline really outshines the Julie story.

This author, Julie, apparently has another book coming out. It is about her apprenticeship at butcher shop. If I read it, I will probably go vegetarian again!!

caite said...

I liked the movie...but mostly only the parts with Julia, so I never really considered the book. for me it was all about Meryl channeling Julia.

Heather said...

I love all your comments. NOne of my local friends have read this book, so I couldn't check with them on their thoughts. My kids always tell me I have no sense of humor, so I'm not surprised I missed the witty entries in this book. I probably will watch the movie with my daughter and she'll nudge me when I need to laugh. Next I am going to my son's room to get Julia's cookbook from her tv show to scan recipes for him.

Amy said...

Sounds like you might like Julia Child's autobiography better. I always have a problem with audio books. Gotta say, though, I'm not a fan of Julie, so I hear ya!

bermudaonion said...

I enjoyed this one more than you did, but felt that some of the language from the author was unnecessary.

Zoey said...

We rented the movie and thoroughly enjoyed it. What I liked was Meryl Streep as Julia. She did a great job. The whole cook and blog part was secondary to the story of Julia (in my humble opinion).

Nancy said...

Heather I never read the book but saw the movie and loved it and it inspired me to start wrting my book. So for me it was worth a watch and I would watch it again. :)

....Petty Witter said...

A good honest review. So awful when you so want to enjoy a book only to find you don't. I hear it is one of those rare things - a movie that is better than the book.

Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness) said...

I just watched this movie, and didn't love it that much (except for Meryl Streep as Julia Child -- she was amazing). I think my whole impression of Julie Powell was impacted by knowing about her next book with all the cheating and stuff on her husband. It was hard to find her likable knowing that was coming. And yeah, she did seem whiny in the movie too.

Carmie, the Single Nester said...

I purchased this book a few years before the movie came out. I could not get through the first 60 pages. I could not stand the blogger. And the only parts of the movie I liked were the ones about Julia Child. Book donated.

Stone Meadow One said...

I watched the movie, but haven't read the book. for me it was very dissapointing! I couldn't keep up with the changes between characters, and quite honestly, don't really care about Julie anyway. Julia Child, on the other hand is great! Her parts in the movie were funny and enjoyable! Maybe I'll read the book to compare (I've never seen a movie that was better than a book before!)

Sara said...

Hmm thanks for the honest review. I feel the same way about the movie. I wanted to like it, everyone said it was great, but I just couldn't.