The Kitchen Reader: Julie and Julia

I've joined a new little online reading group called The Kitchen Reader.  The idea is that every month we all read a food-related book and then blog/discuss.  Since food is one of my "soapbox" issues, I figured it would be fun and, perhaps, give me deadlines to read a lot of the foodie book I've been wanting to get to, but don't always make time for.

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This month's book was Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, and 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen by Julie Powell.  As you may know, Julie Powell was one of the first widely reported bloggers to get a book deal.  As a bored cubicle worker, she decided to challenge herself to make all of the recipes in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I, and blog about it as she went along.  The book really isn't about the recipes--although they do make appearances--but is more about Julie's growth through the year.

A lot of the critics of this book really don't like Julie as a character, calling her whiny and narcissistic.  I thought she was hilarious.  I could completely see myself in her place, being sort-of-grossed-out-but-at-the-same-time-fascinated by things like beef marrow and tongue.  The maggots under the dish rack story was a little nasty (pick it up and wipe underneath it once a week, for goodness sakes!), but, well, I'm sure we all have our own deep-dark un-cleaning secrets?  (I once had a mouse living in my cupboard and didn't know it for awhile....have never used so much bleach before or since!)

Overall, I thought this was a fun, fluffy read.  I haven't seen the movie yet, but I've heard Meryl Streep was fabulous, as usual.  Has anyone else seen the movie and read the book?  If so, I'd be curious to hear how they compare?