Friday, September 11, 2009

Julie & Julia

It isn't often that I see a movie before I read the book it's based on. No, I'm one of those snobs who refuses to see a movie based on a book and then if I do, I tell everyone "it's okay, but the book is so much better." (I especially like to say that to people who don't know that a movie is based on a book.)

But when I saw Julie and Julia in late July, I hadn't read either the namesake book or Julia Child's book My Life in France. I loved the movie, which intertwined the two stories, and decided that I had to read them both. Since Julia's book came first and she was the inspiration for Julie's project, it made more sense to read hers first, but then library due dates messed that up, and I had to go with Julie's memoir first.

I read Julie and Julia in two sittings, and I think the best way to describe the book is "cooking chick lit." It's filled with sex and drinking and drama unrelated to Julie's project of cooking her way through Mastering the Art of French Cooking, but then of course, there are the substantive and informative parts devoted to Julie's pursuit of mastering French cuisine. Julie's writing is conversational, casual and messy — I write this way to get my ideas down on paper, but then clean it up — but it works for a project that's personal and creative. Julie cooks to save herself and give her life meaning, and judging by comments on her blog, Julie's readers are nearly as invested as she is. So while personal, it's also a universal and inspiring project, and the kind of endeavor that I want to come up with for myself.

Each section starts with an imagined letter about Julia's life in France, and after reading the first one, I skipped over the rest. The book is already cute, and this just wanders into the realm of too cute. I'm going to save voicing Julia's experience for Julia herself and I'm hoping to get to My Life in France very soon.

I know a lot of you have read the book and seen the movie — how do you think they compare?

No comments:

Post a Comment