I surprised myself with how much I liked this book. Well, not the book, in particular, but the author. I liked her sense of humor, her way of looking at things and (for the most part) her style of writing. She is lively and interesting and very capable of keeping me reading.
The story is very simple. I didn't really understand from the book why Julie Powell decided to cook every recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking
, but she goes from there, describing her yearlong descent into the cookbook, Julia Child's life, the blog she set up to document the year, and the lives of her family and friends around her. We as readers come along with her as she shops for obscure ingredients (though, living in New York City, she never has all that much trouble finding anything), wrestles with strange cooking implements and starts thinking Julia Child is speaking in her head.
All of that was pretty interesting. But there were some flaws in the book that left me cold. I didn't like the odd way that her narrative intersected and twined around itself. Small things mentioned offhand several pages back blossomed into long stories which tied into other anecdotes. It sounds neat on paper, but reading it was a little frustrating; I constantly felt as though I had missed something. Her description of the way her kitchen devolved into something disgusting seemed like over-the-top hyperbole, as did her descriptions of her work life. And every once in awhile there would be some random, two-page, completely made up scene from Julia Child's life that seemed completely out of place. It wasn't as though she tried to write a dual narrative - they were too sparse and short for that - but as though she was making some token homage to Julia after she realized that Julia Child wasn't a fan of her project.
So, very uneven for me.