Summary and book reviews of Julie & Julia by Julie Powell

Julie & Julia

365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen

By Julie Powell

Julie & Julia
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Hardcover: Sep 2005,
    320 pages.
    Paperback: Sep 2006,
    336 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

With the humor of Bridget Jones and the vitality of Augusten Burroughs, Julie Powell recounts how she conquered every recipe in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking and saved her soul.

Julie Powell is 30-years-old, living in a rundown apartment in Queens and working at a soul-sucking secretarial job that’s going nowhere. She needs something to break the monotony of her life, and she invents a deranged assignment. She will take her mother's dog-eared copy of Julia Child's 1961 classic Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and she will cook all 524 recipes. In the span of one year.

At first she thinks it will be easy. But as she moves from the simple Potage Parmentier (potato soup) into the more complicated realm of aspics and crépes, she realizes there’s more to Mastering the Art of French Cooking than meets the eye. With Julia’s stern warble always in her ear, Julie haunts the local butcher, buying kidneys and sweetbreads. She sends her husband on late-night runs for yet more butter and rarely serves dinner before midnight. She discovers how to mold the perfect Orange Bavarian, the trick to extracting marrow from bone, and the intense pleasure of eating liver.

And somewhere along the line she realizes she has turned her kitchen into a miracle of creation and cuisine. She has eclipsed her life’s ordinariness through spectacular humor, hysteria, and perseverance.

DAY 1 , RECIPE 1

The Road to Hell Is
Paved with Leeks and Potatoes

As far as I know, the only evidence supporting the theory that Julia Child first made Potage Parmentier during a bad bout of ennui is her own recipe for it. She writes that Potage Parmentier- which is just a Frenchie way of saying potato soup - "smells good, tastes good, and is simplicity itself to make." It is the first recipe in the first book she ever wrote. She concedes that you can add carrots or broccoli or green beans if you want, but that seems beside the point, if what you're looking for is simplicity itself.

Simplicity itself. It sounds like poetry, doesn't it? It sounds like just what the doctor ordered.

It wasn't what my doctor ordered, though. My doctor - my gynecologist, to be specific - ordered a baby.

"There are the hormonal issues in your case, with the PCOS, you know about that already. And you are pushing thirty, after all. Look at it this way - ...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
  1. Julie has such a remarkable relationship with Julia Child, despite never having met her. What did you think of the relationship that Julie built in her mind? And why does it not matter, in some sense, when Julie finds out that Julia wasn't an admirer of hers or the Project?

  2. Throughout the book, various people become involved with the Project: Julie's husband, her friends, and several of her family members. Discuss the different roles each played in the Project. Which people were most helpful and supportive? Who was occasionally obstructionist?

  3. Did you find Julie to be a likeable character? Did you relate to her insecurities, anxieties, and initial discontent? Why do you think it is that she was ...
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
  • award image

Reviews

BookBrowse

If you're a keen home cook or a fan of memoirs, real or fictionalized, such as Bridget Jones, this is one for you; and with the holiday season coming up dangerously soon, you might also want to keep a note of Julie & Julia as a potential gift item for a domesticated relative - perhaps paired with Julia Child's autobiography My Life In France (with the caveat that Julia Child, who died while Julie was working her way through The Art of French Cookery, wasn't a fan of Julie or her project!)   (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).

Full Review Members Only (304 words).

Media Reviews
TIME Magazine

Powell is not a domestic goddess; she's emphatically, unembarrassedly a domestic mortal. But she is also a genuinely gifted thinker and writer about food. As we learn in the account of her culinary marathon, Child's gastronomical masterpiece teaches Powell precious lessons about herself.

Publishers Weekly

Both home cooks and devotees of Bridget Jones-style dishing will be caught up in Powell's funny, sharp-tongued but generous writing.

Kirkus Reviews

Powell is a softy at heart, appreciating Child because, she says, Child "wants you to remember that you are human, and as such are entitled to that most basic of human rights, the right to eat well and enjoy life." Powell clearly enjoyed hers, with all its madness and pleasures.

Booklist - Vanessa Bush

Hilarious. Powell discovers incredible determination and hidden talents in cooking, writing and living. This is a joyful, humorous account of one woman's efforts to find meaning in her life.

Author Blurb Ann Beattie
Julie and Julia has all the ingredients of a tasty novel: it's original, funny, and slyly provocative. I also learned a lot, and I will channel Paul Child when I renovate my kitchen.

Author Blurb Mario Batali, cookbook author and 2005 James Beard Awards' Outstanding Chef of The Year.
Julie Powell's homage to Julia is inspiring, poignant and engaging. A magnificent introduction into the lives of two very interesting women.

Author Blurb Elizabeth Gilbert, author of The Last American Man
A feast, a voyage and a marvel. Julie Powell writes about cooking the way it always needed to be written about - in big, buttery, honest and lusty, gravy-dripping-down-your-chin gulps of rhapsody.

Reader Reviews
coolcookie

Julie & Julia
This book is boring!!! its like reading a cookery book from start to finish zzzz. And I like cooking! Still reading it, have skipped lots of bits throughout. Can't wait to be finished with it. Maybe a good book for some people but not me!

Geraldine

Exhausted of Julie, curious of Julia
This book was picked for my book club and as the film had already been released I think we were influenced by Meryl Streep on the cover. I digress,I found this book very difficult.. Julie Powell is so self absorbed and moany. she tries far too hard ...   Read More

Mary A. Schmidt

Disappointed.
My review I believe is much as Julia Child's was. It comes over as someone (Julie) who wants to be recognized too as someone who likes to cook and tried to cook and be like Julia Child. Julie seems to be bored with her job and in a sense her life, ...   Read More

RosalieBABY

The Best Book I have EVA READ
Greetings everyone who goes on this website. This book was AMAZING. And I ain't no fluent reader nor spelling and writer for heaven sake I'm a 13 year old who has read this unbelievably funny and great book. This book was so very good I even...   Read More

Write your own review!

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book

Julie Powell says... 'My answer to "what's your favorite read" changes every time I'm asked it, but I can say that as far as cookbook authors, Paul Prudhomme*, Andries de Groot and, yes, Nigella Lawson are folks I enormously admire. Elizabeth Gilbert is a fantastic writer as well as a great person, and I look forward to her next book with bated breath. I am in awe of Alice Munro. As a kid I was a bit of a sci-fi and fantasy geek, and read Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's trilogy on a bi-yearly basis, and was a ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked Julie & Julia, try these:

  • A Goose in Toulouse jacket

    A Goose in Toulouse

    by Mort Rosenblum

    Published Feb 2013

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    In France, you are what you eat. Mort Rosenblum applies his superb nose for news and fine fare to the food-drenched culture of a country that takes its cuisine as seriously as its politics.

  • Blood, Bones & Butter jacket

    Blood, Bones & Butter

    by Gabrielle Hamilton

    Published Feb 2013

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    Blood, Bones & Butter is an unflinching and lyrical work. Gabrielle Hamilton's story is told with uncommon honesty, grit, humor, and passion. By turns epic and intimate, it marks the debut of a tremendous literary talent.

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member


Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  
Sign up, win books!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    Mrs. Hemingway
    by Naomi Wood
    Naomi Wood's latest novel, Mrs. Hemingway, is a fictionalized biography covering in turn writer...
  • Book Jacket
    The Stranger on the Train
    by Abbie Taylor
    The opening chapter of Abbie Taylor's debut novel, The Stranger on the Train, took me right back to ...
  • Book Jacket
    Night Film
    by Marisha Pessl
    One of the central tenets of Hinduism states that the world as we know it is just an illusion –...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

Tomlinson Hill
by Chris Tomlinson

Published Jul. 2014

Join the discussion!

  1.  158The City:
    Dean Koontz

All Discussions

Win this book!
Win The Angel of Losses

The Angel of Losses

"Family saga, mystery, and myth intersect in Feldman's debut novel." - Booklist

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

E C H A Silver L

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.