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Not long after the paperback version hit stores, my sister in Los Angeles sent me a copy of Julie Powell‘s book, Julie & Julia, which was based on the author’s year-long project to cook and blog her way through Julia Child‘s famous French cookbook. I have to admit, I was surprised at how much I liked the volume. Powell turned out to be a funny, neurotic, and charming narrator/confessor as she tortured herself — and the loved ones her in life — with the project.

I had no clue, though, how Hollywood would turn Powell’s obsessive chronicle into a feature-length film that had even a drop of narrative arc to it. Well, it seems that Nora Ephron found a solution outside of her source material: She’s grafting Child’s own complicated life story onto Powell’s search for meaning inside the 500-plus recipes of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume 1.

It may be a brilliant idea to splice cultures and time frames and characters. Then again, it may ruin the very thing that made Julie & Julia, the book,  so charming: its twin, almost paradoxical tones of  self-deprecation and self-obsession.

What are your thoughts on Julie & Julia, the movie, as we await its August 7 opening?