My neighbor and friend left a rather tattered copy of Julie and Julia by Julie Powell in my mailbox with a tiny Post-it note attached that read, "It will either make you puke or laugh." I was intrigued. I had no real idea what the book was about, and I'm not now, nor have I ever been, a fan of Julia Child. I don't have anything against her, I just don't know that much about her. I've never seen her show, never cooked any of her recipes, and I don't own any of her books. But I love food, and I love good writing, and I especially love to read good food writing. So I gave the book a go.
The book is a memoir. A food memoir that grew out of the yearlong project, The Julie/Julia Project. Julie Powell was a 29 year old New Yorker, working in a dead-end job as a secretary for a government agency, when she decided to cook all 524 recipes in her stolen copy of Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking in 365 days, and blog about it daily. No small task, clearly. The book chronicles that year of cooking with wit, down-home honesty, and occasional irreverence.
No matter that Julia Child was a stranger to me when I started this book. She is not the star of this book. Julie Powell is. And while yes, I did learn a thing or two about Child, and even grew to admire her some, it is Powell who I learned to love in these pages. She is funny and genuine, and a joy to read. She drinks a little too much and is prone to fits of weeping, but she is also an inspiration to anyone who has ever dared to try something new with their lives.