Book Review: My Life in France by Julia Child

Julia Child had a huge following and maintains a devoted legion of fans - which was especially evident last month on what would have been her 100th birthday. The Internet was flooded with images and quotes by the beloved chef who introduced the world to French cooking on a new-fangled invention called the television. :)

A new generation got to know Julia Child from the movie Julie and Julia released in 2009 and starring Meryl Streep. The movie was based on the 2005 book by Julie Powell about a discontented New Yorker who decides on a whim to make every recipe in Julia's masterpiece Mastering the Art of French Cooking in one year. I'd read the book a summer or two ago and all along all I could think about was how much BETTER the movie was than the book. Amy Adams portrayed her in such a delightful light, but in reading the book, the author just wasn't very likable to me. I didn't care for her language or her attitude. I didn't enjoy it and almost didn't finish it. I preferred the cheery and sweet Adams character over the author's voice.

This past summer as the local library was running the summer reading program, which had a food theme, I decided to pick up a copy of My Life in France, written by Julia Child with the help of her great nephew, Alex Prud'Homme. The book began as a collaborative effort and was completed by Prud'Homme following her death at age 92.

The book follows Child off to France with husband, Paul, where she discovers her calling and a place that she instantly falls in love with to call her home, Paris. When I start reading a book that I really enjoy, I just can't seem to put in down and will often finish it in a couple days. With My Life in France, I found myself pacing myself - not because I didn't like the book, but because I LOVED it so much, I truly didn't want it to end. I wanted to savor my time lost in post-war France with visions of crepes and succulent fish dishes in my head.

Whether or not, you're a cook, I'd recommend this book. Autobiographies are my favorite genre of literature anyway and this is a lovely account of the years when she truly discovered herself and her life's passion. And for those who like to cook, either for fun or for profession, the book is a MUST. It returns you to another time and place and reminds us of the simple pleasures of friends and food. If you only read one book before year's end, make this the one!