"I Must Read, Read, and Read. It is my Vocation." - Thomas Merton
This is where I chronicle my reading life. I also blog about writing at Lacey's Late-night Editing.
Book Riot Read Harder Reading Challenge Item: A Food Memoir
THIS BOOK WAS ABRIDGED AND IT DID NOT ANNOUNCE THIS FACT UNTIL THE END CREDITS. I LISTENED TO AN ABRIDGED BOOK. I DO NOT DO THAT. I FEEL SO VIOLATED. GR.
OK, so I took a long time to finish this review because I was having a meltdown over the fact that the book was abridged. Because my thought about the audiobook, overall, was that it seemed a little "disjointed" -- and that didn't seem like a fair criticism after learning that parts of it had ACTUALLY been chopped out. So I felt like I should find the actual book and read the deleted bits before I made that criticism. Of course, even after doing so the book still feels a bit disjointed in my mind, since I skipped all the stuff in the audiobook version when I read the cut bits in the paper book ... so, yeah, let's just say my experience was totally RUINED by the abridgement even though I got the whole book piecemeal in the end.
So, with that said, I think the complete book is better than the abridged version (no surprise there), especially since the abridged one leaves out some sexual content that makes it feel "censored." Yuck.
From what I could tell, I liked Julie's "voice" and didn't find her to be "obnoxious" like some reviewers did (it's a memoir! Just let people be themselves as they tell their story!) What was interesting to me was not the food experiment, but the real-life drama of Julie and her husband's relationship, her coping with PCOS, her friends' sexual indiscretions, etc. And I often felt that these stories did not get the sort of arc or "closure" or attention that I wanted them to. Meanwhile, the food descriptions were extensive (and included in the abridged version in their entirety), and often were more of a turn-off than anything to this vegetarian reader (killing lobsters? Cooking calves feet? No thanks ...) So I feel like I really only enjoyed "half" this book -- the people half. The cooking details were pretty much lost on me, and I sometimes daydreamed during them (another reason this book might have felt "disjointed.")
I didn't really like the imaginary scenes about Julia Child in the unabridged book, although the movie pretty much builds itself around these snippets. The movie gives more attention to Julia than to Julie, so that it feels like a bio-pic with a random storyline thrown in there, but what remains of Julie's story is pretty true to the general feel of the book -- except that they had to make her husband a total drama queen for the screen, when IRL he seems to have been a LOT more chill. But, that's Hollywood for you.