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Julia Child autobiography

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There is, sadly, no real place to ask this question generally of a lot of people, now that this site is so splintered, but has anyone read the Julia Child autobiographical "My Life in France"? Something fascinating about her discovery of good food, and something very appealing about her life and enthusiasm.

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  1. I've read it and enjoyed it very much. Highly recommended for all Julia fans.

    1. I bought it this summer and planned on reading it. I read Julie & Julia instead. What does that say about me? Still going to read it!

      1 Reply
      1. re: stellamystar

        I'm reading it right now and really enjoying it so far! I read "Julie & Julia" last year and detested it, which is unusual for me because I usually love most food-related memoirs. I found it incredibly whiny and self-conscious. So if you loved J&J I wonder what you'll think of "My Life in France"? ;-)

      2. oh, I really loved that book. A wonderful read by a great lady. I think you'll really enjoy it. Her joy and enthusiasm for life, her kindness and eccentricities make it very charming.

        8 Replies
        1. re: karenfinan

          It's a lovely and delightful memoir...charming photos and such a clear delight in food, love and life. Makes you wish we'd had more of her...makes you wish more cooks, more people were like her.

          1. re: karenfinan

            I really loved the book and agree with all of karenfinan's comments. I did not like Julie and Julia.

            1. re: marciab

              I liked the idea of Julie and Julia but it turned out to be more "chick lit" rather than "food lit." Don't get me wrong, I've read and enjoyed some "chick lit" but that's not really what I was expecting I guess. It was kind of fun to read about her and her husband's search for various ingredients. I remember thinking, she'd never be able to get that here (Nashville).

              I received My Life in France for Christmas and it is next on my reading list. I have peeked at the pictures. :)

              1. re: Boudleaux

                Judith Jones said that Julia was appauled by the blog. Theres a really interesting interview if you search either Julia's or Jones' name at npr.com.

                1. re: rozz01

                  That wouldn't surprise me - I enjoyed reading the blog, but I'm sure my grandmother (and my mother, for that matter) would have been appalled by it too. Lots of swearing and drunkeness!! Not that I imagine that Julia was an angel, but Julie certainly is a character.

                  1. re: MMRuth

                    actually, i think the problem julia had with the blog was the idea that cooking from "mastering" was some big challenge. she had worked very hard to make the book accessible and make sure all the recipes were perfect. she felt it had been made into the object of a joke. and that she did not appreciate.

                    1. re: FED

                      According to the interview, Child was offended by all the profanity. She was from a different age and all..

                      1. re: rozz01

                        that may be what the interview said, but that's not what julia told me. she didn't "appreciate" the profanity, but she was no bluenose. and what offended her was julie's seeming to take "mastering" as a joke.

          2. I read this last month and couldn't put it down. It's facinating and now I've gone back to re-read Mastering the Art!

            1. I GREATLY enjoyed listening to the audiobook version while commuting this last fall. Im just full of admiration for her tremendous enthusiasm, charm and hard work. Its very well done - Julia was not really able in her last years to do this on her own - she collaborated with a man who put it together, mostly from Julia and Paul Child's contemporary letters, so it has a very personal, immediate flavor of the times she describes rather than being a retrospective look. So much fun and I too want to cook from her books now that I understand what she went through writing them!

              1. Very interesting book.... Really enjoyed!

                1. I'm at the last chapter. What a wonderful, down to earth, interesting person she was. Her contribution to the culinary scene in the USA is remarkable and it is doubtful that anyone else has ever put the time, effort and love into a cookbook that she put into Mastering the Art.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: emilief

                    I loved the book and was sad when it ended. She had such zest for life and had so many interesting experiences. None of the celeb chef types today has her class.

                    1. re: foodslut

                      Another fan here. I loved it and thought her discription of her first remarkable meal in France was almost edibale..made me swoon to return to France, the bits about she and her husband were very sweet and I now give out Mastering the Art of French Cooking to people as gifts...she worked so hard on making that for all of us that every home should have one!

                  2. I am reading it now. I love that she was so independent, spontaneous, and adventurous. She inspires me. I enjoy reading about her relationship with her husband too. Lovely.

                    1. Loved it completely, perhaps out of a loyalty to Julia Child, my tutor in learning how to cook well.

                      A very nice book, with a very nice literary voice (one we remember if we watched "The French Chef"), but a voice that very deftly instructs the reader/cook in their undertakings. Another reason I loved the Julie/Julia undertakings. Real life, folks.

                      I truly wish there were more who could write so passionately, yet so humanely about food.

                      Who, really, can be the next Julia Child?

                      Salute Mrs. Child, and nominate, if you will.


                        1. re: Withnail42

                          I loved My Life in France. It really is a wondeful book.

                          1. probably one of my favorite books ever. I loved Julia with a whole heart, and I had heard her tell many of those tales over the years. Alex Prud'homme, Paul's nephew, totally captured her voice. I could her her telling those stories all over again.

                            So charming.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: ChefJune

                              i'm with chefjune on this one. i was lucky enough to know julia quite well and that book (my life in france, not the biography) captures her personality to a T. it really was like sitting around listening to her tell stories.

                            2. Both my wife and I read it and loved it. Julia lived a very full and interesting life.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: pasoguy

                                Loved this book. I really didn't like "Appetite for Life," the biography by Noel Riley-Fitch (sp?). It was the size of a doorstop, and while it thoroughly documented her life, it was just a plodding read. I am a huge fan of Julia Child and it took me nearly a year to read that one.

                                I loved this title because it really focused on her passions, and it gave you a strong sense of her personality and what she was about.

                                Agreed - I didn't like Julie & Julia as a book, although I have to admit that I did read the blog. I'm in a book club that reads only food titles. We all loved this one; the group was split on Julie & Julia. Some people loved it, others loathed it.

                              2. I adore this book. The tone of her writing is very conversational, and it feels like she is telling you the story of her life at a table of friends over a delicious meal. Her first meal in France was a turning point in her life, and I honestly feel that reading My Life in France was a turning point in mine, especially my food career. Julia Child is a reminder of why we all love food so much-- there is always another technique to learn, another recipe to try, and another book to read. This book makes you want to run into the kitchen and whip up a beef bourginon to share with friends. I can't recommend this book enough.

                                1. Yes I am a diehard Julia fan! I can remember watching The French Chef on PBS. I even would stay up late to catch it on Food Network some time ago when the were showing the originals. I LOVED the book, and could almost hear her distinctive voice in my head while reading...LOL Starting on a re-read now. Would love it if they would release the original series of shows on DVD.


                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: twh1475

                                    > Would love it if they would release the original series of shows on DVD.

                                    Haven't they? I see at least 3 volumes of French Chef DVDs for sale on Amazon.com!

                                    1. re: kpzoo

                                      Hi Kpzoo,
                                      Really? I will check it out, Thanks!!