February 10, 2010

Review: My Life in France

My Life in France
by Julia Child with Alex Prud'homme

I was not planning to read Julia Child's memoir of her time in France. It was enough for me to have seen the movie and to cook my way through MtAoFC. But Mom bought the book and couldn't get through it. She thought I'd probably like it. And I did need a French themed book for the Four Month Challenge. What the hell. I read it.

Starting with her marriage to Paul Child, Julia tells her readers about her time in France, falling in love with it's food and it's people. She calls it her spiritual homeland. She explains how she got into cooking. Julia had a driven and scientific mind. She wasn't satisfied to cook a good meal; she had to know how and why it worked the way it did. When she was brought into collaboration for the now famous cook book, she worked each recipe multiple times to make sure it worked every time. Then, when she was brought back to live in the States, she had to work them all over again because American ingredients were much different. We also learn a little about her TV career and her 2 other cook books.

It was a great memoir. It made me want to live in 1950s France. Though they loved France, the Childs lived a cosmopolitan lifestyle. They took road trips, enjoyed art and photography, local cuisine where ever they went. They had no trouble finding like minded friends. They were not interested in an Americanised version of France but in the real deal. The same was true when they lived in England and in Germany. It was always about experiencing the culture and local color.

The ghost(?) writer of Julia's memoir is a family member. Alex is the grandson of Paul Child's twin brother. Using Paul's multitude of letters written to his brother, Alex was able to interview Julia and get a very accurate account of events as they took place and the impressions they left on Julia. This gave the memoir a voice that was a mix of both Paul and Julia that is playful and expressive. I loved the use of funky words throughout, like cookery bookery, that were totally Julia.

While she didn't live to see the book published, I think she would have been very proud of how it turned out. Thank you Mom for passing your copy to me. I highly recommend it.

My Life in France counts for the Four Month Challenge and the 2010 Challenge.

9 comments:

Chris said...

I'm glad you liked it. I want to read it too.

Nicole (Linus's Blanket) said...

I haven't had much interest in reading this one. I didn't follow Julia Child very much because I just wasn't into her style of cooking, but her story seems like it is worth checking out.

Linda said...

I do want to read this. I found Julia so engaging in the movie Julie & Julia.

Dana said...

I read this book recently and really enjoyed it - glad you did too! I didn't realize that Alex was related to Julia, that's interesting to know...

bermudaonion said...

My husband read this after we saw Julie & Julia and he really enjoyed it. I hope to read it one of these days.

everybookandcranny said...

I'm really looking forward to reading this book. The Julia Child portion of the movie was definitely the more enjoyable portion of the film, Julie and Julia.

Zibilee said...

I have been back and forth over buying this book every time I go into the bookstore, so I am glad to know that it's such a good read. I think I am going to pick it up the next time I am there. Great review!

Lisa said...

I am looking forward to reading this one - Julia Child was such a great personality! I have always loved watching her.

jehara said...

I read that last year and loved it. I thought it was delightful.