Monday, August 10, 2009

Book Review and Giveaway: "Julie and Julia" by Julie Powell

Julie & Julia, the bestselling memoir that's "irresistible....A kind of Bridget Jones meets The French Chef" (Philadelphia Inquirer), is now a major motion picture. Julie Powell, nearing thirty and trapped in a dead-end secretarial job, resolves to reclaim her life by cooking in the span of a single year, every one of the 524 recipes in Julia Child's legendary Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Her unexpected reward: not just a newfound respect for calves' livers and aspic, but a new life-lived with gusto.

Julia Child was and always will be an icon in the cooking world. I went to the American History Museum at the Smithsonian and saw the display with her kitchen. I just stood in awe to think of everything that had been cooked there. It was the same feeling that Julie Powell had after she had completed her year long project to cook every recipe in Julia Child's French cookbook and blog about it. I enjoyed reading about her decision and the reactions she got when Julie pursued the project. Challenges are always that, a challenge to do and especially when there's no real incentive, it can be hard to finish it. However she manages to do it, have fun in the meantime, and learn how to cook really good food. I, myself, probably would never accomplish this task, due to my distaste of most French food, but as a mild foodie it was fun to read. The little Julia excerpts throughout the book, while fictionalized, made her and her husband come alive in the book. I almost shrieked and grimaced throughout the maggot scene in the book. Even now, I'm still gagging just thinking about it. It was portrayed humorously but if I had been in Julie's shoes I would have been doing the exact same things she did.

There were a few things about this book that I wasn't too fond of. I would have liked more talk about the food. I assume that all that was left on the blog, but it would have been nice to have read some excerpts from the blog entries or more adventures about what happened. What was in the book was really fun to read and very enjoyable. It's just not a food memoir so if that's why you're reading the book, you should be prepared. While I fully appreciate her excitement about being a blogger (the comments, the readers, the hits), I have never in my 3 years of blogging have ever heard anyone call a blog reader a "bleader". There is some language in the book and while at times it's a bit grating, it's not a big distraction.

Overall I enjoyed the book and Julie's style of writing. It was fun reading into a year of her life and the background story behind the idea for her blog. I wish I could have read her blog during it's original run. I'll be looking forward to seeing the movie and watching the book come to life.

Julie and Julia by Julie Powell is published by Little Brown and Company (2009)

I'm giving away 5 brand new copies of today's book! Leave a comment with your email address so I can contact you if you win. I'll pick 5 names and announce the winners on Monday, August 17. Open to US and Canada entries. Good luck!




  1. This looks like a really cute book! I can't wait to see the movie. Amy Adams and Meryl Streep are two of my favorite female actors.

  2. I love the commercial for this movie. Can't wait to read the book.

    Please count me in.

    cindyc725 at gmail dot com

  3. I've heard so many things about this one - I'd love a copy to form my own opinion. Thanks for the contest!

    wendyhines (at) hotmail (dot) com

  4. I would love to read this.


  5. I would love a chance to win a copy.

    My e-mail is kitty fischer [at] gmail [dot] com

  6. I've been dying to read this one. Thanks for the giveaway.
    eswright18 at gmail dot com

  7. I'd love the opportunity to win this book. I've tried enterting so many contests for it and I haven't won! So sad. But, then, your site is giving copies away! YEAH! I'm so excited. So, I'm entering and hoping!

    A Novel Menagerie

  8. Anonymous4:28 PM

    I just saw this movie yesterday and it was awesome!! I really want to read the book, too :) Thanks for having the contest.

    PBS Name: Dawnoctopus

  9. Anonymous4:40 PM

    I saw the movie this weekend and would love a copy of the book! What a great story! Thanks for offering the contest!

    Edie (ediesbeads on PBS)

  10. I am really looking forward to reading this book! Thanks so much for the chance!

  11. I so want to read this book before I watch the movie! Thanks for the chance.

    waitmantwillie at hotmail dot com

  12. Anonymous5:14 PM

    I want to read this AND see the movie. Thanks for doing this giveaway!

    Crystal (crysstine is also my PBS nickname)

  13. Anonymous5:16 PM

    Julia is The Queen of the kitchen. Absolutely love her! Have you seen her and Pepin? Two Masters! Thanks for the chance.
    drewsmom at PBS

  14. I'd like to go see the movie and reading the book would be great too!
    stampedwithgrace at cox dot net

  15. Anonymous5:23 PM

    The book and the movie look really good. I would love to win a free copy of the book. I was planning on going to the movies this week and wasn't sure what I wanted to see; maybe this is the movie I'll go see.

    Sherry (ladybug43 on PBS)

  16. Anonymous5:30 PM

    Ever since I saw the movie trailers on TV I thought 'MAN! I HAVE to have this book!' so I went to PBS, and it's of course, wishlisted. :(
    I'm all into cooking so I thought it'd be a really good book.

    Amanda (amandabullock on PBS)

  17. Anonymous5:39 PM

    Thanks for the chance to win a copy of this book - appreciate it!

    Jennifer - JAM on PBS

  18. Anonymous5:43 PM

    I want to see this movie! Love your blog! Would love the book. Karen rockqueen@PBS

  19. Anonymous5:50 PM

    I'd love to read the book before I see the move. Meryl Streep is my all time fave. Julia Childs led an interesting life, as well. I saw her kitchen in the Smithsonian.

  20. Carol K (ck on pbs)6:25 PM

    I enjoy your blog. I've seen commercials advertising the movie and it looks kinda cute, so I'd like to read the book as I prefer reading over the silver screen.

  21. Hi,
    I'm faith4jesus on PBS.

    Great idea for a blog. It looks interesting.

    Julie & Julia looks likes a great movie & books.

  22. Please enter me into the drawing :)

    Thank you!

  23. I'd love to be entered into the drawing.

    paleindream (at) live (dot) com

  24. Anonymous9:11 PM

    Hi. Thanks for letting us know at pbs that you're giving this away!


    PBS id: levyrcon

  25. Anonymous9:17 PM

    Would love to read this one!!

    Thanks for the chance,

    notenoughtimetoread - FR

  26. Would love to read this book.

    jhidey at gmail dot com

  27. Anonymous6:50 AM

    Would love a chance to read the book before seeing the movie. Thank you!

  28. I am thinking this would be a good read. By your post, I too would want to see a few of her blogs that she did.

    Rikki Lee -

  29. Anonymous10:29 AM

    I can't wait to read this book. Please enter my name into the contest
    PBS ManolasMom

  30. Anonymous10:30 AM

    Hi! My sister and I want to see the movie. I know I will enjoy reading this book because it involves food. :)

    Please enter me pretty please.

    ConnieJ at FR

  31. I always like to read the book before I see the movie. Please count me in. Thank you for hosting this giveaway!

    cyeates AT nycap DOT rr DOT com

  32. I prefer reading a book before seeing a movie. Love to watch the contrasts. Plus the books are so much more detailed and leaves you to your own imagination. But sometimes the movie surprises you and you are really enthralled. Please enter me. Thank you.
    desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

  33. This looks interesting! Please enter me!

    BethsBookReviewBlog AT gmail DOT com

  34. I'd like to enter this giveaway. Thanks. =)

    lindanmc (at)

  35. I grew up on Julia and would love to read this book. Aloha from Rob (KauaiSurfer@FR).

  36. sounds good

  37. Anna W.7:51 PM

    I really want to see the movie, so I definitely want to read the book!

    Anna W.
    writer_weaver at yahoo dot com

  38. Anonymous9:43 PM

    i would love to win a copy!
    thanks for the chance,

    kdk at FR

  39. JDobs at FR7:52 AM

    I would love to win this book - Thanks for the chance! Julie (JDobs)

  40. Anonymous12:58 PM

    I would love a copy

  41. Anonymous5:48 PM

    Have been hoping to read the book before the movie. Thanks for having the contest.

    tgemge at aol dot com

  42. Anonymous8:56 PM

    Yes, please enter me!

  43. Julia Child is my heroine. When I was a kid, I bugged my mom to buy me a copper pot just like the ones Julia had hanging in her kitchen on her cooking show ;) Would love to win the book!

    contact: thalya2780 at hotmail dot com
    PBS ID: pjs2780

  44. BJohnson1:17 PM

    I, like you, wish I could have read the blog in "real time" once I heard about the book and its premise. I'd love to win a copy so I can check it out! Thanks!

    picodepui AT yahoo DOT com

  45. Anonymous1:32 PM

    Saw the movie and wanted to start my own blog about learning how to cook! Thanks for the contest!

  46. Can't wait to watch the film but I would like to read the book, too!


  47. Anonymous1:31 AM

    This looks like a great book!

  48. Anonymous3:18 PM

    I have seen the previews for the movie and it is on my waiting list at NetFlix. I loved the book, and would love my own copy:) Fun contest!!
    PBS nickname sunnybrookgal