Ambassador of Books ~ Book Club Madam ~ Blogger Gal

Monday, December 7, 2009

My Life in France

My Life in France
by Julia Child
302 pages



*** About the Book ***

Almost everyone in the world has at least heard of Julia Child, the author of numerous cookbooks and the first chef to have her own TV show. In this book she shares how she first became fascinated with delicious food and how she actually learned to cook. The core of this story focuses on Julia's relationship with her husband and with food during the years she lived in France.


*** Why I Read It ***

I've never been into cooking or particularly interested in Julia Child so this is not a book I'd ever planned to read. But when my book club chose it for our December read I wasn't really disappointed since I enjoy memoirs. It did take over a month to get it from my library - there were over 80 people on the wait list!


*** My Thoughts ***

Before I even start telling you about this book you simply must watch this video. It is from the late 1980s when Julia appeared on David Letterman's TV show. It is only a few minutes long but is well worth the time!



Did you watch it? I bet you were laughing. See, I TOLD you it was worth it!

Now for my review ...

I'm not sure what I expected when I picked up this book but come to find out I actually knew NOTHING about Julia Child! Did you know she was 6'2" tall? And wore a size 12 shoe? And that she was married to a man 10 years her senior? And that they made their own Valentines cards to send to friends every year (that's one on the book cover)? Okay, so those aren't really pertinent facts but they are interesting nonetheless.

This is a lovely book about a woman who found her passion (what some would call) late in life and went after it with all her heart. I so admire her for that. This isn't a fast paced adventure romp or a celebrity name-dropping extravaganza; rather it is a quiet and touching story about a woman with a wonderful appreciation for the world around her and a great sense of humor.

There was only one problem with this book; I didn't want to read it right now. Because of the long wait list at the library I got the book just 2 days before book club and spent all my spare time reading through it as quickly as possible. As I read I kept thinking that it was a lovely story and that I'd enjoy it so much more if I could choose the right time to read it.

In the end I am very glad that I read this book and I would definitely recommend it. I just wish I could have read it at a time that felt more right.


*** Your Thoughts ***

Are you a fan of Julia Child? What about other TV chefs? Personally I don't really care for cooking shows but Hubby watches them all the time, especially Gordon Ramsey. Have you ever made a recipe from one of Julia's cookbooks? How did it turn out? At my book club meeting a few gals did just that - I'll tell you about it in an upcoming post.

Here are some other reviews to help you learn more about this book:

23 comments:

Kay said...

Heather, I loved the Child/Letterman video. Hilarious! They really played well off each other.

I've got this book on my Kindle to read at some point. I'm looking forward to it although I am not much of a non-fiction reader.

Thanks for the review!

Ti said...

That video is classic Julia. She played well off of a lot of folks, I think that is why she was so popular.

I used to watch her and Jacques Pepin (butchering his name). They were a good pair as well.

Brittany said...

I really enjoyed this book. I bet it would have been a great read for a book club. It made me really appreciate what a unique woman Julia Child was - very ahead of her time.

Esme said...

I really enjoyed this book even though it was not something I would have usually chosen.

Nicole (Linus's Blanket) said...

I haven't worked with her recipes a lot because I find that French style cooking is usually too rich for me. Her personal experiences and pursuit of her passion do sound like they make for a story I would love to read.

Jen - devourer of books said...

I really don't have any particular interest in Julia Child (other than her being a spy, does she talk about that at all?), but so many people have mentioned how lovely this book is that I suppose I'll have to read it. Your review made me go and request the audio from the library.

Heather J. said...

Kay & Ti - So glad you liked the video!

Brittany - "ahead of her time" - that is it exactly.

Esme - You and me both!

Nicole - I agree about it being too rich but it still SOUNDS amazing. ;)

Jen - Yay! I convinced someone! My sister asked the same question about Julia's spy years; unfortunately she barely mentions them. I'd have liked to read more about her experiences in that arena but sadly it wouldn't have fit with the book. But still, I really enjoyed it and I hope you do as well.

Alyce said...

Thanks for sharing the video! I hadn't seen that one before and it was so funny!

I agree with you that you need to be in the right mood to read it, and it is a book that is better if not rushed.

My favorite TV chef is Alton Brown. I love his show "Good Eats" the Food Network. His shows involve a lot of the science behind why things work the way they do in recipes, and he usually has a good amount of humor thrown in too.

Kelly said...

I LOVED this book--As a French major I found her "Franglais" to be charming!
The fact that she found her passion late (France and cooking) in life is really interesting, and she and her husband had the cutest marriage.
I admire her very much, and even though I don't agree with her politically (she takes a few digs at Republicans and conservatives!) she is someone I would have loved to have known.
I have her cookbook Mastering the Art of French cooking, and plan to try one recipe from there a week...

GMR said...

Okay, first off, I admit it...I skipped the video! (a little pressed for time right now, but will stop back to view again) I did however read your review and I must say I am glad to hear you enjoyed the book! I have seen this a few times in the bookstore and wanted to check it out, but I have a copy of Julie and Julia to read before I move on to that one. I remember when I was little, mom would have the old reruns of her show on once in a while...I think they ran them on PBS on Sundays at one time...her voice was unmistakeable as well as her enthusiasm for anything she made. When the movie was released with Amy Adams and Meryl Streep, I managed to make it to the theater to watch it and can't say that I was disappointed. Definitely recommend it as well...
Thanks for sharing....and happy reading!

Julie P. said...

I just started this one this morning! We are discussing it Wednesday night.

Heather J. said...

Alyce - Alton Brown IS great - that is one show I don't mind watching at all.

Kelly - Too funny - that Franglais drove me crazy! But her relationship w/ her husband was wonderful, wasn't it?!

GMR - Well, I guess I can forgive you IF you promise to watch it later ... :) It really IS funny!

Julie P - Cool! Maybe we can compare book club meetings!

bermudaonion said...

I'm not a fan of cooking shows but I've always loved Julia Child for her sense of humor and love of life. My husband read this book and enjoyed it and I hope to get to it soon.

Plays with Needles said...

My book club read this book in August and we made a number of her recipes that night...My sis made Beef Bourginin I made the Queen of Sheba cake (it was awesome) someone made coq au vin...and lots of others. It was a riot! We also all went to see Julie and Julia together. I enjoyed Julia's book more than Julie's and found that immersing myself in Julia's life for a week was fun.

softdrink said...

I've never been a fan of cooking shows, either. Despite the fact that I can cook, I consider it a waste of perfectly good reading time. Watching other people cook falls into that same category.

Rebecca Reid said...

I'm glad you enjoyed it, and i understand the "read it at the right time" thing. That's a funny video! I hadn't actually seen Julia Child on video before and I think she was great with letterman!

Darla D said...

My husband & I had a great time watching that video - thanks for posting it! I enjoyed this book very much, but absolutely I would have had to be in the right mood for it. Maybe in a few years when it's a dim memory you'll be able to revisit it and it will be a better fit. But I'm glad you enjoyed it anyway!

Justin Narin said...

I'm not into non-fiction but this book looks interesting. Thanks for the review.

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Care said...

I was scared of JC when I was a kid but now I adore her. I liked the Julie and Julia book but wanted more Child. I've yet to read this but expect I will love it.
and my hub LOVES watching cooking shows and he loves to cook so all good. :)

josbookshelf said...

Thanks for posting that video. It had me in stitches!

Julia Child was certainly a very interesting person. I hardly read memoirs but your review just made me want to look for this book. :)

Heather J. said...

bermudaonion - I think this will be a great book to discuss w/ your husband - it has such a lovely love story.

Plays with Needles - My book club had fun with it too, but most of the gals didn't really like the book (shocker, I know). The food we made was GREAT though!

softdrink - Yes indeed, I feel much the same way!

Rebecca Reid - There are TONS of videos of her on YouTube, including episodes of The French Chef - you should check some of them out!

Darla D - So glad you enjoyed the video! My husband was laughing along with me as well.

Justin - Glad you enjoyed it.

Care - I think she scared me a bit when I was a kid as well. LOL

josbookshelf - I hope you DO try it - it is a lovely book.

Dreamybee said...

What good sports they both were-Julia for soldiering on without a working stove and Dave for eating the raw meat! I haven't read the book, but I did love Meryl Streep in Julie and Julia-very touching performance.

I'll stop and watch cooking shows if they're making something I'm interested in, but I don't think they are as entertaining as they used to be. There's certainly no one around today with the same personality as Julia Child or one of my other favorites from back in the day, Martin Yan (Yan Can Cook!).

Heather J. said...

Dreamybee - Did you see my videos of Martin Chan from last year?! Hubby and I got to see him cook at the Baltimore Book Festival, and to meet him afterward - he is hubby's all time favorite!

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