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24 September 2009

Julie & Julia But Really & Eric, & Paul and & Larry


On Tuesday, we went to see the movie "based on two true stories" as it is being touted.
It was all about this book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking (technically, renamed volume 1 upon update and after volume 2 was published) by Julia Child, Simone Beck & Louisette Berthol, as referenced in these two books:
My Life is France by Julia Child
and Julie & Julia: A Year of Cooking Dangerously by Julie Powell (the original hardcover subtitle described the project and blog: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen
(being sold at the official movie site with links to Borders and B&N, but curiously, not amazon.com nor IndieBound (organization of independent booksellers formerly known as BookSense)
Confession: I have not read either of the two books on which the film is based. My sense of Julia Child comes from memories as a (not so young) child watching her cooking shows aired on PBS and a biography covering her life (including mother's and father's (and grandparents') history through to saying good-bye to Paul (who died in 1994) as she scattered his ashes out to sea.
I believe it is this one, Appetite for Life: The Biography of Julia Child by Noel Riley Fitch. With full access to Julia's papers, it was so intimately done, that I erroneously recalled it to Jim Ferolo as being an autobiography. Jim told me a few Saturdays ago that he had really enjoyed the movie, especially the performances by Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci, how they portrayed the love and respect Julia & Paul must have shared. I agree. Was this relationship idealized, either in all these books or in the film? Who knows? If so, it's a great feel-good take-away myth, and I always say, truth can appear even more unreal than fiction.

Additionally, I had stumbled across a blog or comment regarding Julie Powell's husband Eric (I'm sorry -- I meant to doublecheck if his surname is Powell, too), and how the online writer appreciated such a mature depiction of a man in these times, strongly supportive of his wife, which seemed so few and far between.

I am hoping that such depictions are the thing that is few and far between, not the real men who are strongly supportive of their wives, nor the appreciation of them. Why, just in this one blog, I can say there are three of us women who had/have and appreciate(d) the main man in her life.

Thank you, Larry, for working nearly 90 hours/week for the past 11+ years (Books on First officially opened for business on 4 Oct 1998 after one year of renovation at 202 W First St, Dixon), and being what Carolyn could not be -- personable, local (from Walton and Amboy HS graduate) boy with world-class panache, the hardest worker alive, a voracious reader who enjoys reading for pure enlightenment and a spot-on sense of what we can offer the customers (without breaking anything including our backs, our piggybank, our word or the law).
Because he is more in tune with our would-be customers, as we worked on the business plan and then, the store itself, he described it to the banker and curious passerbys as a "miniature Barnes & Noble," because he said people could "get it" more easily that way since that's how he finally "got it," after walking into one with a Starbucks in the middle of it, on Diversey near Clark in Chicago -- a forum for exchange of ideas which included people and books. I had to chime in and say, "but better," because another quality of Larry is that he's modest.
The idea for Sauk Valley's premier and independent bookstore/coffeehouse came from an 18-year old idealist when Vassar classmate Kathryn Bing-You invited me home to Boston on break and I walked into (now gone) Harvard Bookstore/Cafe in Faneuil Hall and thought, This is cool. This is what I want.
However, Books on First would neither be premier nor independent nor in Dixon today if it weren't for Larry not only supporting but helping improve upon the then crazy idea of allowing people to sit down, look at books and get coffee & crumbs everywhere with the hopeful belief that these same people will realize they really need to buy that book and take it with them.
I tell people I didn't agree to marry him until he agreed to the idea; that's my storytelling version and I'm sticking to it. How else would I be able to say he's the third wisely patient husband in this blog?

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