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Julie and Julia

by Julie Powell
307 pages, Biography/History
Reviewed by Kristi

Extensive profanity and unnecessary sexual content for a book about learning to cook.

Plot

WARNING: The following review may not be appropriate for young readers.

Finding herself still temping as a secretary and pushing thirty, Julie Powell decides to regain focus in her life by cooking through all 524 recipes in Julia Child's classic cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking in one year. And she'll blog about it all.

Morality

Most of the immorality in this book, and there's plenty of it, falls into the category of language and sexual content.

Spiritual Content

Julie seems to be a non-Christian, as do her family and most of her circle of friends. Julie says something derogatory about a coworker who wears a "What Would Jesus Do?" bracelet.

Violence

A woman intentionally cracks her head against concrete. Julie describes what she calls her 'murder' of lobsters for various recipes.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Julie's dreams of life in her twenties included using illegal drugs. The author drinks martinis, vodka tonics, and many other drinks, and she and her friends sometimes drink to excess. Cocaine use is mentioned.

Sexual Content

The author indicates that she lived with her husband prior to marriage, and that her dreams of life in her twenties included pre-marital sex with both men and women. Mention of self-gratification. At age 11, the author finds and familiarizes herself with her father's book "The Joy of Sex". Rape, self-gratification, homosexuality, and S and M are all mentioned in the book, though not described graphically. One of Julie's friends exchanges lewd messages via IM with a married man and then sleeps with him when he visits New York. Another friend considers going to meet a man she is interested in, despite the fact she's already married (I don't know how that plotline ended.).

Crude or Profane Language or Content

It would probably be simpler just to say that the author has used pretty much every foul word I've ever heard of, and adapted existing words to form a few new ones. Very few pages passed without the author cursing once or more. She also takes the Lord's name in vain in various forms.

Conclusion

After forty pages, I seriously considered taking this book back to the bookstore and asking for a refund. Unfortunately, I pressed on, subjecting myself to pages and pages of foul language and disturbing content. I had hoped to read something fun and funny about a contemporary woman's misadventures in cooking. This is not that book. In fact, I'm not sure what book it is. Part memoir, part blog, part imagined history of Paul and Julia Child, this book didn't seem to know what it was.

Somewhere around the middle of the story, I found that the author was discussing sinful topics that I not only found disturbing, but which were actually novel to me. At that point I decided I would not be finishing the book.

Fun Score: 3
Values Score: 1.5
Written for Age: adult

Review Rating:

Average rating: 4 stars
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