Synopses & Reviews
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 crepes, 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.
"Powell became an Internet celebrity with her 2004 blog chronicling her yearlong odyssey of cooking every recipe in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. A frustrated secretary in New York City, Powell embarked on 'the Julie/Julia project' to find a sense of direction, and both the cooking and the writing quickly became all-consuming. Some passages in the book are taken verbatim from the blog, but Powell expands on her experience and gives generous background about her personal life: her doting husband, wacky friends, evil co-workers. She also includes some comments from her 'bleaders' (blog readers), who formed an enthusiastic support base. Powell never met Julia Child (who died last year), but the venerable chef's spirit is present throughout, and Powell imaginatively reconstructs episodes from Child's life in the 1940s. Her writing is feisty and unrestrained, especially as she details killing lobsters, tackling marrowbones and cooking late into the night. Occasionally the diarist instinct overwhelms the generally tight structure and Powell goes on unrelated tangents, but her voice is endearing enough that readers will quickly forgive such lapses. Both home cooks and devotees of Bridget Jonesstyle dishing will be caught up in Powell's funny, sharp-tongued but generous writing. Agent, Sarah Chalfant. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"A gratifying year spent tackling the art of French cooking....Indulge in this memoir of marrow and butter, knowing there is always a bitter green to balance the taste." Kirkus Reviews
"The tougher the shopping and cooking assignment, the more sensual the experience, as 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." Booklist
"Powell is a talented, funny writer... Julie & Julia [is] a touching, sometimes stomach-turning, and overall delicious read." Johanna Bates, BUST
“I was inspired by her journey and made a point of saving a copy of ‘Popular for my sister, who starts middle school this fall. Maybe if I had read it when I was her age, it could have saved me from a world of hurt, or at least put that world in perspective.”—Maude Apatow for the New York Times Book Review
“Popular taps into a feeling shared by Bradbury and Bieber enthusiasts alike — the need to fit in during middle school.”—USA Today
"An interesting and earnest memoir." —Kirkus Reviews
"While completely appropriate for middle school readers, Popular is even more entertaining for adults. Van Wagenen is a uniquely gifted talent with a gem of a first novel" —VOYA
A New York Times bestseller!
Maya Van Wagenen is a Time magazine Top 16 Most Influential Teen of 2013 and a Huffington Post Most Fearless Teen of 2013
“I was inspired by her journey and made a point of saving a copy of ‘Popular for my sister, who starts middle school this fall. Maybe if I had read it when I was her age, it could have saved me from a world of hurt, or at least put that world in perspective.” —Maude Apatow for the New York Times Book Review
“Popular taps into a feeling shared by Bradbury and Bieber enthusiasts alike—the need to fit in during middle school.” —USA Today
“Everyones happiness project looks different, and I was utterly charmed by Maya Van Wagenens honest, funny, and thought-provoking account of her efforts to become ‘popular.” —Gretchen Rubin, #1 bestselling author of The Happiness Project
“Geeky and dorky, but never wimpy, Maya Van Wagenen is as powerful and honest as she is quirky and funny—and startlingly gifted. Shes the real deal, folks, a teenage John Green for the next generation. Stunning.” —Margaret Stohl, bestselling co-author of the Beautiful Creatures series
“Maya Van Wagenens memoir, Popular, would have been wonderful to read as a kid, and so reassuring to Nerdy Teenage Me. Her year-long experiment in popularity is timeless; the intelligent and humane way she gets to the heart of the matter is uniquely her. Funny, determined, and wry, Van Wagenen has written a wise, heartfelt guide for other kids eager to keep up.” —Rachel Hartman, bestselling author of Seraphina
“An interesting and earnest memoir.” —Kirkus Reviews “While completely appropriate for middle school readers, Popular is even more entertaining for adults. Van Wagenen is a uniquely gifted talent with a gem of a first novel” —VOYA
Nearing 30 and trapped in a dead-end secretarial job, Julie Powell reclaims her life by cooking every single recipe in Julia Child's legendary Mastering the Art of French Cooking in the span of one year. It's a hysterical, inconceivable redemptive journey — life rediscovered through aspics, calves' brains and creme brulee.
Now in paperback-the format in which it's destined to become a reading group favorite-the most heralded and hilarious memoir of recent years:
Nearing 30 and trapped in a dead-end secretarial job, Julie Powell reclaims her life by cooking every single recipe in Julia Child's legendary Mastering the Art of French Cooking in the span of one year. It's a hysterical, inconceivable redemptive journey - life rediscovered through aspics, calves' brains and crème brûlée.
The bestselling memoir that's "irresistible....A kind of Bridget Jones meets The French Chef" (Philadelphia Inquirer) is now a major motion picture directed by Nora Ephron, starring Amy Adams as Julie and Meryl Streep as Julia, the film Julie and Julia will be released by Sony Pictures on August 7, 2009.
New York Times Bestseller
A breakout teen author explores the true meaning of popularity and how to survive middle school in this hysterically funny, touchingly honest contemporary memoir.
I was inspired by [Maya's] journey and made a point of saving a copy of Popular for my sister, who starts middle school this fall. Maybe if I had read it when I was her age, it could have saved me from a world of hurt, or at least put that world in perspective.” Maude Apatow, New York Times Book Review
Can curlers, girdles, Vaseline, and a strand of pearls help a shy girl become popular?
Maya Van Wagenen is about to find out.
Stuck near the bottom of the social ladder at pretty much the lowest level of people at school who arent paid to be here,” Maya has never been popular. But before starting eighth grade, she decides to begin a unique social experiment: spend the school year following a 1950s popularity guide, written by former teen model Betty Cornell.
The real-life results are hilarious, painful, and filled with unexpected surprises. Told with humor and grace, Mayas journey offers readers of all ages a thoroughly contemporary example of kindness and self-confidence, along with a better understanding of what it means to be popular.
About the Author
Born and raised in Austin, Texas, Julie Powell has resided in one place or another in the outer boroughs of New York City for the past eight years. Currently she lives in Long Island City, New York, with her husband, Eric, three cats, and a snake.