Not What I Expected. Better in Ways, Worse in Others. An Honest, Raw Memoir
Aug 3, 2009
In anticipation of the movie by the same name and by a serendipitous sale while on a trip to a local bookseller I ended up with a copy of this entertaining memoir. I had not heard of The Project before seeing the film trailer. And once I saw the film trailer I was completely in love with the idea and the intersecting stories of the two women on separate but intertwined journeys. Buying the book seemed like the absolute best idea. Before I continue, though, I need to toss out some caution flags. Caution number one...based on the subject matter and charming cover you'd never guess this book would be full sexuality. It is. I'm guessing if you tossed a few seasons of Sex in the City into a crock-pot, added several chapters of Mastering the Art of French Cooking and folded in a few trade chick-lits, a tablespoon of assorted spices, and a few cups of wine you'd end up with a dish of Julie and Julia en croute.
In example, regarding Caution One, two friends actively engaged or toying with adultery, a friend with erotic dreams and lack of filter, a heroine who seems at the edge of her very sanity several times, raw, naked, food, mastering and manipulating and enjoying said food, a move, a despised job not to mention a syndrome and a biological clock clanging on the cusp of a thirtieth birthday, well, all lend themselves to frequent F-bombs and much sexual conversation and shared thoughts.
Caution Number Two. I expected more Julia. Julia isn't absent but a bit anemic and in a ratio of about 10% Julia, 90% Julie. Julie's life is definitely one that kept me turning pages, sometimes with apprehension, but turning nonetheless. But if you are seeking half and half or heavy on the Julia you might be disappointed.
Julie is clever and writes some terrific sentences. Some of her descriptions are deliciously hysterical. One little tidbit about her poor, sweet husband as a butter mule brought tears to my eyes. Also, Julie gets a little or a lot political and is definitely not a fan of religion and/or God depending on the rants I encountered. Anger, though amusing much of the time, still comes across as anger and added a bitter aftertaste. I loved Eric and the fact that though there were times I wondered if their marriage would survive the slinging, the cursing, the thoughts, in the light of day Julie always managed to find the good and the right in her marriage and attempted to speak positively about her husband, painting him as an unconventional hero.
Sarcasm lovers. Those who like underdog stories wherein beaten down and depressed person picks self up by boot straps and through some quirky, self-imposed lifestyle choice ends up changing need to look further into Julie and Julia. The unfolding story is a painful process to watch. But there is something grandly delicious about the final multicourse meal on the cosmic table of a hard won success. Though a thick fuzzy blanket of dust lies beneath the dining room table covering and spiderwebs bind the candle sconces to the wall and each other, though the sink gurgles in protest and the pans cover all available space in the kitchen, the meal ends up being very much like life. Delicious and decadent mixed with sparse and stringy, washed down with joy and tears, and shared with people just as stinking messy.
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