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Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously

Average Rating 3
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(81)

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(78)

2 Star

(57)

1 Star

(67)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

9 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

Laugh out loud funny

This book was so much fun, I only wish I had been aware when the project was underway, it would have been fun to blog along and encourage Julie in her endeavor. I actually laughed out loud multiple times while reading. For me that is always a great sign. I truly enjoyed...
This book was so much fun, I only wish I had been aware when the project was underway, it would have been fun to blog along and encourage Julie in her endeavor. I actually laughed out loud multiple times while reading. For me that is always a great sign. I truly enjoyed it and am now stimulated to read an actual biography of Julia Child!!

posted by Marie314 on April 6, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

18 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

Great Premise turned bad.

I was excited to read this book. What an amazing thing to take on in one year. Cooking some of the hardest receipes out there by the great Julia Child. I was excited to hear about how she figured it out all from a cookbook and no help.

Instead - this was a self-...
I was excited to read this book. What an amazing thing to take on in one year. Cooking some of the hardest receipes out there by the great Julia Child. I was excited to hear about how she figured it out all from a cookbook and no help.

Instead - this was a self-indulgent look into a womans life that as I read further, I realized I didn't like. Don't get me wrong - I don't care about the bad language. I'm not giving this a bad rating over that.

I found the writing to be disjointed, the story did not flow and I didn't laugh. There were three major problems I had with the book.

1. The gross factor - I'm not talking about cooking livers or kidneys or brains. I'm refering to the filth she lived in and cooked in. When your kitchen is so disgusting that your sinks are backing up, your house is full of flies and you have a mass of maggots in your dish tray - the last thing you should be doing is cooking.

2. The political bashing. While I appreciate everyone is entitled to their opinion, I don't think it belongs in a 'non-political' book. If I want to hear the bashing - I'll turn on the news or read a political book. In a book about cooking and life - there is no reason to continually go off on your political ramblings. The criticism and the stereotyping of one group was just not needed in the book. Each time this happened, I considered throwing the book out.

3. Julie as a person. At the end of the day - I thought I might grow to like her. She was self-centered, lazy, dirty and contributed nothing. At the end of the book - she seemed even more self-centered, I didn't get a big message out of all of this so either she can't write or she didn't either and her contribution was a blog and a poorly written book. Even Julia Child didn't like her. If I were Julia Child - I wouldn't want this woman anywhere near anything I had done. Much less attach her name to mine.

Such a shame as this could have been so much better.

This book reminded me a lot of Eat, Pray, Love. Another book about a self-absorbed woman that was almost impossible to finish.

posted by ajt4 on November 4, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2009

    Who would think Bone Marrow would taste good?

    I loved this book, Julie Powell¿s writing was great and kept me wanting more. She is funny, witty and tells it how it is. I cook a lot and love respect Julie for having the courage to get through all the recipes of Mastering the Art of French Cooking (MtAoFC)!

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 14, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Aspic, what the heck are people eating that for???

    I myself am certainly no great cook. This book made me want to cook every recipe I could get my hands on. Set right after 9/11, Julie finds herself in a less than satisfying job and turns to her mom's old fav, Julia Child's French Cooking Cookbook. She decides that over the course of a year she will cook each recipe from the book, in her less than stellar New York apartment kitchen. I loved this book from start to finish.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2008

    A reviewer

    Although I have never written a review I felt compelled to do so after reading this book and the reviews that I had read about it before purchasing it. This book is certainly not a cook book or a book about learning to cook. The plot is not lacking the book simply trails the author in the process of in a sense ¿finding herself¿ and the impact 'small but not insignificant' she made on others through the Julie/Julia project, whether they were ¿bleeders¿ or her own friends, family, and coworkers. The authors writing style is certainly not Dickens but it is written exactly as the author is, a 30 year old New Yorker stuck in a dead end job. Powell does not shield the truth from the reader, she writes what she feels, even though some may find it ¿appalling¿. It¿s a great read if you are in a sense looking to find your place in the world or stuck in a monotonous life.

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2008

    she's cooked up a good book

    i am pretty into memoirs these days and this was a fun story to read. julie decides she needs a project somewhat more fulfilling than her dead-end job and to distract her from the stress of possible fertility issues and finds it in cooking her way through julia child's cookbook. we are taken along this amusing ride, along with a good cast of side characters like her husband, parents, brother and friends. that said, i don't think her writing skills are that strong, so i would be surprised to see another book by this writer (particularly anything fiction).

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2008

    Language ruins the story

    It's hard to enjoy the actual story, which is witty and well written, because the vulgar language gets in the way. A few choice words can show a characters frustration, anger, etc. but the f bomb every sentence was distracting and disappointing.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2007

    This book is not sugar coated, but a fun-tastic read.

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone wanting to be entertained by climps into someone's personal life centered around a cooking project. Julie's year endeavor allows her to grow emotionally. This is my first read into the food journal genre & I hope more writers follow her lead by adding laughter into their books. The negative reviews seem to be from too serious readers. If they would have finished the book, they would find that Julie reflects on her view of Julia Childs & it works for me. I suggested it to my teenage son's girlfriend who loves to cook and she likes it too. I'm glad I didn't pass this one up and am tempted to try some french recipes.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2007

    Very Disappointing!

    Not sure what I was expecting, but I didn't expect the words I was reading. I couldn't finish this book. The style of writing was very negative, crude and rude. Julia Child is a legend in the cooking world, and deserves much more than what was found in the pages of this book.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 25, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Disappointing

    I haven't finished this book yet, but so far I'm finding this to be one of those rare cases of the movie's being sooo much better than the book. I don't find it to be as much about Julia Child or even about cooking and more about the author whining about her life. I'm only continuing to read it because it is my Book Club's current selection.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 23, 2010

    Don't Bother, but see the movie.

    I just bought this book today. I read through the first few pages or so, flipped through the rest and decided it's going back to the store. If you like foul language and references to sex, go ahead and read it. Just don't let your kids read it. There are too many unneeded curse words and just things like sex that should never, ever end up in a book, or at least not a book about a famous cook and someone whom that cook helped out through cooking. Since I hadn't read it, I can't accurately rate the different categories, but in general I will give it a star for the good things that ended up in the movie. Skip the book and see the movie! The movie is far better because it has so much less of the bad stuff. Save yourself from reading all bad stuff.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 12, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Eh, it's OK I guess...

    I really like the concept of this book, but Mrs. Powell focuses more on how the project brought out her true ugliness while failing to recognize her need for some serious therapy. This book is not a very sophisticated read, more along the lines of the literary version of a popcorn film. There are some laughs and interesting side stories, but the overall feeling of a child-like angst towards authority figures, conservatives, educated men, and the world in general tend to distract form forming an actual story. If the writer had been a conservative male there would have been no book and certainly no movie. The movie paints a much more likable version of Julie Powell than what she reveals herself to be in the book. Any other books from this author I will check out from the library.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 12, 2009

    This writer was too emotional.

    Although she writes well, she is way too emotional over a simple task of cooking. The first few chapters were interesting, however, I was too exhausted over her emotional rollercoaster to read more than a few pages at a time. Her husband must be a saint to put up with her antics during the year it took her to complete the task she set for herself. She reminds me of someone who was so emotional I had to leave the room just to be able to breathe. Having said that, this is sometimes what people are reading in order to put meaning into their own chaotic lives.

    I did not read her blog during her ordeal, but I understand she was very popular. People were drawn to her writing and drama so she should do well in her future persuits. I wish her well.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 21, 2009

    Disappointing.

    I found this book not to be very interesting. I saw the movie trailers and expected a much more humorous story. The story tended to drag much of the time. The few portions about Julia Childs were more of more interest than the current Julia. I found very little to tie them together.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 16, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Garbage -- Read My Life in France or see the movie instead

    There was really nothing appealing about this author or her book. I was so looking forward to a lighthearted, funny read. Boy, was I disappointed. I wished I could have returned this book and gotten my money back. My mother asked to read it after me. I didn't want to give it to her, but she insisted. She couldn't get through it and returned it. The author is foul mouthed, has horrible things to say about her coworkers, republicans and 9/11 victims; and even advocated shooting the last president. On top of all that, her descriptions of cooking in her filthy, cat hair ridden kitchen were repulsive.

    Save your money and see the movie or read Julia'a book "My Life in France." Both were charming and delightful.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Movie more fun

    I saw the movie first after reading Julia Child's book My Life in France which I loved

    I enjoyed the movie and was looking forward to the book but after reading about 70 pages I was exhasted and frankly bored

    She is so self absorbed and so spastic in her writing style that I could not relax and enjoy the book

    If you are into reality TV (I am not) or reading personal Blogs (I am not) then you might get into this rambling on

    But if you are really interested in Julia Child and her cooking - cut to the chase and read HER book - My life in France

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 29, 2009

    Cooking my way to a new identity

    Okay, so I'll have to admit ... I grew up with Ms. Child on t.v. and never paid attention (I was a little kid so I'll give myself some room). But, as I read this book I found myself laughing hysterically at some of her imagry (and wondering how the hell she knew some of that stuff) and relating intimately with her cubicle-fever and longing to do something more rewarding. Julie Powell's draws you in, much like Julia Child did in her cookbooks, with that kitchen-table conversational style that makes you feel as though you're not thousands of miles away across country, but having coffee with her in her Queens apartment. She inspires us all to not accept boredom and the cubicle as an end to itself but to get out there and c reate goodness in whatever form it takes for us.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2009

    This soufflé fell flat.

    There is nothing positive I can say about this book. I am embarrassed for the "author". Her writing is pedestrian at best. If you think this is a book about Julia Child - it is not. Julie approached every recipe as a chore (and that was just a metaphor for how she approached her life, husband, job, etc.) The language is offensive. Worst of all was her sarcasm and snobbery related to her job and September 11. Shame on Julie Powell and her publishers.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2009

    Snotty, Whiny and Boring

    I was entirely disappointed with this book. I thought it would be whimsical and funny at best, silly and frothy at worst. In fact, it was just one annoying, unenlightend, unoriginal rant/observation after another. The author constantly puts down her coworkers as lacking any emotion or compassion (no specifics here - it just must be so, says Julie, because they are Republicans - how original), which is ironic given that she herself constantly makes fun of the mentally ill and lonely, elderly persons, who she dismisses as loons and crazies. She admits to actually enjoying major disasters, including 9-11, because they give her a strange sense of purpose, yet cannot make a sauce without taking her frustration out on her poor, berated husband. In sum, the author is wholly unlikelable and unrelatable and manages to sap any sense of fun whatsoever out of this "story."

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 24, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I hated this book!!

    This book is proof that blogging doesn't mean you can write. I got this book for .25 when I joined a book club (not this one) and thought it was well worth the price I paid - I wouldn't have wanted to spend any more than that. There was nothing in the book to hold my attraction, although I did read it all the way through. The author is whiney, shallow and rude to the people she is supposed to support (on her job) and love (her friends and family). Julia Child was correct when she called her an upstart. GO TO THE MOVIE - IT'S MUCH BETTER AND THERE'S MORE JULIA IN IT!!! (And Meryl Streep - what more could you ask for?)

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 21, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Hated It

    This book was a real disappointment. It was not at all what I expected. The writing was really bad.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 1, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Julie & Julia is part culinary adventure, part NYC scavenger hunt and a wonderful read!

    Synopsis:
    Married and living in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, working as a secretary in an unnamed government agency after a series of dead end jobs, pushing thirty, and having learned that she may have fertility problems, Julie Powell is ready for a change. Inspired by her parents' copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child (MtAoFC), Julie creates a blog and declares her challenge to the universe:

    "Government drone by day, renegade foodie by night. Too old for theater, too young for children, and too bitter for anything else, Julie Powell was looking for a challenge. And in the Julie/Julia Project she found it. Risking her marriage, her job, and her cats well-being, she has signed on for a deranged assignment. 365 days. 524 recipes. One girl and a cr@ppy outer borough kitchen. How far will it go, no one can say ...."

    Sure enough, the book takes us through the challenges and victories of that year. The culinary ones have an undercurrent of NYC scavenger hunt and discovery, like Julie's first experience with bone marrow: Bifteck Saute Bercy garnished with bone marrow of a cow. The personal challenges and the torments of her low rent apartment meld with the Julie/Julia Project making frozen pipes, water outages, blackouts, and the move to Long Island City, Queens part of a large, mildly hysterical adventure.

    Review:
    With all the advertisements for the movie coming out and the buzz about this book, you probably know about the Julie/Julia Project and have some impression of the book. Before I began reading, I wondered whether Julie Powell would pull it off. It sounded like a good idea, but would it end up slow or contrived? Annoying? I'm glad to say that I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    I wish I'd known more about Julia Child as I read the about the birth of the Julie/Julia Project. My vague recollections of Julia Child meant that this book shaped much of my image of Julia. But this is really isn't a bad thing. Julie's Julia is a funny, practical, generous and adventuresome muse. I've just unearthed and watched a video of the Omelette Show on The French Chef and will surely watch more Julia Child over time.

    Julie & Julia captures the flavor of New York so well. It's a light, enjoyable read full of good writing, interesting characters, and unusual dishes. I highly recommend it!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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