I recently watched this movie for the first time. It was released in 2009 so why did I wait two years to see it? When a movie is first made available in theaters, it’s not that accessible to those of us who don’t see well. If I sit close to the front of the theater, I can see most of the action on the screen but not everything. So I prefer to wait until the movie is available in a described format, meaning that a voice describes everything including the action, costumes, and scenery.
The same goes for books. Most are only available in print when they’re first released. Although I have a desktop magnifier, reading that way is a tiresome process. I’d rather wait until the book is either recorded by a live human being or made available in a format that can be read by a text to speech engine.
“Julie and Julia” is a true story of two women. In 2002, insurance agent Julie Powell decides to cook all 524 recipes in Julia Child’s first cookbook in 365 days and blog about it. This is intertwined with the story of how Julia Child wrote her first cookbook in the late 1940’s.
When I was a child, I loved watching an educational program on PBS called “The Electric Company.” It was aimed at teaching children to read and consisted of a variety of sketches. One piece was about a bumbling chef by the name of Julia Grown-up who laid dresses over salads, broke bowls, dropped them in wishing wells, and tried to mix eggs without breaking them first instead of using salad dressing, breaking eggs, dropping them into bowls, and mixing well. It wasn’t until I was grown up that I heard of Julia Child.
At one point in the movie after Julie Powell has received numerous offers from publishers and agents for a book about her experiences, she receives a phone call from a reporter who recently interviewed Julia Child. Apparently, Julia told the reporter that what Julie was doing was disrespectful. Julia Child must have been even less impressed with Julia Grown-up.
At the end of the movie, Julia Child opens a manila envelope containing a copy of her first book. This reminded me of the time I opened a box containing thirty copies of my novel, We Shall overcome. How exhilarating it was to hold my book in my own two hands and gaze in wonder upon the cover.
I wish that like Julie Powell, I could come up with something ingenious that I could blog about and end up with a book deal. I don’t think I’ll try cooking any of Julia Child’s recipes, though. I couldn’t bring myself to drop a live lobster into a pot of boiling water, and the process of boning a duck sounds similar to that of dissecting a frog in eighth grade science class, and that made me sick. Maybe something else will come to me. In the meantime, I just sent a manuscript of poems to a publisher. Will see what happens.
Abbie Johnson Taylor
Author of We Shall Overcome