The Kitchen Reader: My Life in France by Julia Child

October 31, 2009

This month’s selection for The Kitchen Reader is My Life in France by Julia Child. Until I read Julie and Julia, I didn’t know much of anything about Julia Child. That book was a bit of an introduction, but I really got bitten by the Julia Child bug after seeing the movie Julie and Julia. The movie went into some detail about her life in Paris and how she got involved in writing Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I walked out of the movie wanting to know much more about all of it. My Life in France did not disappoint! I loved this book so much that I was sad when it ended.

The book is written by Julia Child with her great-nephew Alex Prud’homme. They cover a lot of ground in 333 pages! The book begins in 1948 when Julia and her husband Paul arrive in France and ends in the early 1970s when she is living in the US and filming her television show (plus there is a brief epilogue). I enjoyed all of the book, but I especially enjoyed reading about the process of writing Mastering the Art of French Cooking. The extent of the research she did alone was amazing (and she didn’t have the Internet!). And then there was the testing, the writing, the rewriting, and the sometimes tenuous relationship with the two French women she was collaborating with, not to mention the process of getting the book published.

We learn a lot about Julia’s personal life too, including her strained relationship with her father, who couldn’t accept her opinions about politics and the world. On the flip side, she had a wonderful relationship with Paul; the two not only loved each other, they genuinely liked, respected, and supported each other. There are stories about Julia’s time at Le Cordon Bleu cooking school, Paul’s job (very interesting, and a mini history lesson to boot!), and of course life in France. I was delighted to learn that Julia was a cat lover and included some fun cat stories.

Sprinkled throughout the book are photos, many of which were taken by Paul. The photos add a great personal touch to the book; if you’re on the fence about reading the book, at least page through a copy and look at the photos. Maybe they’ll intrigue you enough to give this book a read!

Be sure to take a look at The Kitchen Reader blogroll to see what the others thought of My Life in France.

For a little more interesting reading about Julia Child, Dorie Greenspan wrote four Tales of Julia posts on her blog. They were fun to read and I wish she’d write more! Here are the links to her posts:


  1. What a remarkable book! I didn’t know a whole lot about Julia Child either, before reading this book…I truly did not want it to end, though. What an inspiration she was!!!!!!

  2. I think Julia was such an amazing person–I’ve been a huge fan of hers since I was a kid. Thanks for the neat links!

  3. I’m definitely going to have to go look at the book now. I “read” it on tape, but I’d love to see those pictures of Paul’s.

  4. It was an interesting book, wasn’t it!

  5. My copy arrived today so I’m looking forward to reading it finally!

  6. Loved the book as well, I had known some of it before, but the book went into more detail for that time period…and what a time period that was! Loved the historical references, the people references, and just the whole feeling of actually being there as part of her life like a little mouse watching…lots of fun and a very quick read.

  7. The book left me wondering what might have happened if Julia had not met the other two women while she was in Paris…
    I love pictures in biographies, especially of when the people were younger.

  8. I didn’t get a chance to read this in time for Kitchen reader, but I will, thanks to your review. Great summary of the book

  9. I felt the same way you did when I walked out of that movie. I’ve been meaning to check this book out from the library, great review!

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: