July 31, 2009

Better than 'Being Julia'

Considering that I spent yesterday defending my lack of blogging because of how insanely busy things have been, it probably doesn't make much sense that I just finished a 300-page book, which I started 2 days ago. But, I did.

'Julia & Julie' (which I consistently find impossible to say correctly) is a book based on a blog about a year-long project for Julie Powell, a frustrated 29-year old in a dead-end job, who invents the Julia/Julie Project to reinvigorate her life by cooking every recipe - all 524 - in Julia Child's seminal cookbook, 'Mastering the Art of French Cooking' over the course of a year. Why? She's not quite sure - it just seems like something she needs to do.

I picked it up off Jessica's bookcase months ago, but got distracted by various book group books and selections from the New Classics list that I've been working on, but with three days of 1 1/2 hours of train commuting to deal with, I decided that this was the week. Plus, I wanted to read it before the movie version comes out next Friday. The movie stars Meryl Streep who, post-'Death Becomes Her' anyway, can do no wrong, and Amy Adams who is beyond cute as a button, so I'm not that worried about the movie sucking compared to the book, as most adaptations do. But, I did want to read it first, so I could reserve my right to be uppity and indignant just in case.

The book went quickly because it's written a lot like a blog - including isolated stories, punch lines and cursing - and it's been a long time since I enjoyed reading something so much. The author's relatable, with a self-deprecating eye on herself, and some wicked/wonderful insight into life on the cusp of 30, in the era of the 2000s, in urban America.

Sure, it's hard to imagine what I would find so attractive about the book: The author's a Buffy-devout, ex-theater nerd who married her high school sweetheart when she was in her early 20s and often feels like the old married woman amongst her sea of single friends. She has no idea what she wants to do with her life, and crafts a project for herself that involves a ton of eating and drinking, thus paving the way to a happier marriage, successful career and well-adjusted self.

Actually, on second thought, maybe I hated this book. Because, seriously: Why didn't I think of this?