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My Life in France [Hardcover]

Julia Child , Alex Prud'Homme
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
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Book Description

26 Jan 2007
In her own words, here is the captivating story of Julia Child’s years in France, where she fell in love with French food and found ‘her true calling.’

From the moment the ship docked in Le Havre in the fall of 1948 and Julia watched the well-muscled stevedores unloading the cargo to the first perfectly soigné meal that she and her husband, Paul, savored in Rouen en route to Paris, where he was to work for the USIS, Julia had an awakening that changed her life. Soon this tall, outspoken gal from Pasadena, California, who didn’t speak a word of French and knew nothing about the country, was steeped in the language, chatting with purveyors in the local markets, and enrolled in the Cordon Bleu.

After managing to get her degree despite the machinations of the disagreeable directrice of the school, Julia started teaching cooking classes herself, then teamed up with two fellow gourmettes, Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle, to help them with a book they were trying to write on French cooking for Americans. Throwing herself heart and soul into making it a unique and thorough teaching book, only to suffer several rounds of painful rejection, is part of the behind-the-scenes drama that Julia reveals with her inimitable gusto and disarming honesty.

Filled with the beautiful black-and-white photographs that Paul loved to take when he was not battling bureaucrats, as well as family snapshots, this memoir is laced with wonderful stories about the French character, particularly in the world of food, and the way of life that Julia embraced so wholeheartedly. Above all, she reveals the kind of spirit and determination, the sheer love of cooking, and the drive to share that with her fellow Americans that made her the extraordinary success she became.

Le voici. Et bon appétit!

Frequently Bought Together

My Life in France + As Always, Julia: The Letters of Julia Child and Avis DeVoto: Food, Friendship, and the Making of a Masterpiece + Julia's Kitchen Wisdom: Essential Techniques and Recipes from a Lifetime of Cooking
Price For All Three: 41.26

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Value Publications (26 Jan 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400043468
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400043460
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 17.8 x 2.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 374,726 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

Child's exuberant, affectionate and boundlessly charming account ... chronicles, in mouth-watering detail, the meals and the food markets that sparked her interest in French cooking, and her growing appreciation of all things French. --New York Times

Luscious … The large-as-life presence of Julia Child looms on every page. --Washington Times

Whether you have [seen Julie & Julia] or not, you must read this charming, eccentric memoir from Julia Child, a towering figure in the world of cookery. --Independent on Sunday --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Julia Child was born in Pasadena, California. She worked for the OSS during World War II; afterwards she lived in Paris, studied at the Cordon Bleu and taught cooking with Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle, with whom she wrote the first volume of 'Mastering the Art of French Cooking' (1961). From 1963 to 1973 she presented 'The French Chef' on American television, and several other television shows and numerous cookbooks followed. She died in 2004. Alex Prud'homme, Paul Child's grandnephew, is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in 'The New York Times', 'The New Yorker', 'Vanity Fair' and 'Time'. He is the author of 'The Cell Game' and the co-author of 'Forewarned'. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
79 of 81 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From Awkward Tourist to French Cooking Fame! 25 Sep 2006
By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
My Life in France is the most entertaining memoir I've read in 2006! It's a winner.

I first met Julia Child under unusual circumstances. My consulting firm was located down the street from where she got her hair done. Every Friday night, she would be seen peering into the windows to look at our art collection. After a few weeks of this, I walked outside and invited her in to tour the work up close. She was immediately studying everything from about three inches away. She thanked me politely and charged out the door. There was no hint of the slightly tipsy person filled with laughter who hosted The French Chef. Ah . . . I felt like I had met the real woman beneath the persona.

From that meeting, I gathered that she was a woman moved more than most by curiosity. I found myself also being curious about how she learned enough about French cooking to help co-author that masterwork, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Most French people in those days would not choose working with an American as a way to produce a work about France. That would be like putting salty Virginia ham into Quiche Lorraine.

My Life in France nicely filled in all the blanks for me. The book was lovingly finished by her grand-nephew, Paul Prud'homme, after Julia's death and is filled with lovely photographs produced by Julia's husband, Paul Child.

Here's the short version of the book. Julia had been in Asia for World War II as part of the OSS and met her husband there. He was ten years older than she was and well traveled . . . especially in France. After World War II, he joined the USIS (predecessor to the USIA) which played a friendly sort of propaganda function promoting American values and ways of doing things.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as entertaining as the film 2 Feb 2010
By A. B.
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this book after watching 'Julie and Julia' in the cinema. As I loved the film I was curious to find out more about Julia Child's life.
This book certainly gives a good insight into her life and you get a real feel of how passionate she was about food. However, this book gets a bit too foody at times, there are only so many descriptions about food she has eaten and cooked one can read without getting a bit bored!
If you are a serious food lover, you will love this book but if you expect the whit and fun of the film you might be a bit disappointed.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wow! 8 Feb 2007
Format:Hardcover
I could not put this book down. I have personally never owned any Julia Child cookbooks but had purchased the book as I knew she had gone to Le Cordon Bleu and I wanted to know how she had evolved into such a culinary powerhouse. What struck me most about the book was the matter of fact language, it wasn't romanticized at all, but showed how she fell into cooking in her middle age and how that evolved into something so much bigger. It was inspirational for me, as it shows that one doesn't need to have picked up cooking very early on (although this is normally better), but is something that can be learned and developed well into your later years with much dedication and pratice =)

Read it!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Charmed by French food 2 Dec 2009
Format:Paperback
Whether you have seen 'Julie and Julia' or not, this is worth reading.

It is a good story with lots of suspense - even if you know that the book eventually gets published. There's much more, however, about life in the 1950s and its fascinating. You'll even get seduced into wondering what all these French recipes are really like.

Finally, it's beautifully written and a joy to read.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's a Wonderful Life in France! 31 July 2007
By maya j
Format:Hardcover
'My Life in France' is a superb book that effuses with that wonderful endearing quality we have all come to know and love in Julia Child. The book focuses mainly on the early years of developing her first cookbooks and television show.

The book begins when she and her husband, Paul, make their first trip to France because of his new job assignment. You feel her giddy excitement upon landing on the shores of a place she had for so long desired to go. We hear in minute detail the look, smell and taste of her first French meal, and from there we are introduced to "La Belle France". Before I began the book, I wondered for how long I could sustain reading each night about a person's breakfast, lunch or dinner meal that had been eaten 50 years prior, but Julia has such an adorable way of speaking, and her sometimes child-like observations of life and people around her are so heartwarming, you just wish you had been there. As the book progresses, she speaks about her collaboration with two women for her first book, and sometimes the claws come out. You're thinking, "Julia!" But, as with all friendships, there are things that agree with us and things that don't. Without some of these tidbits, the book may have been too trite, or frankly boring. Subsequently, it was interesting to hear of the minor squabbles that occurred between the women and the simple controversies concerning her husband and his role as a "diplomat". Paul and Julia Child made many friends overseas, whom they adored and loved. The majority of these people stayed in her inner circle until the end of their lives. For me, night after night, I couldn't wait to sit down and read about so many dinner parties with simmering meats and side dishes, lovely conversations, and eccentric friends. The only thing I didn't like about the book is that it ended too quickly, and I found myself missing the evenings with Julia.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a charming book and not just about how ...
This is a charming book and not just about how Julia Child developed her career but an appraisal of French Life in the years after the Second World Way. Read more
Published 2 days ago by S. Ayling
5.0 out of 5 stars PRESENT
BOUGHT AS A PRESENT, THINK SHE ENJOYED IT?!
Published 24 days ago by Yvonne
2.0 out of 5 stars How the other half lived...
The book was well written and contained a lot of funny anecdotes, but I have to admit that I was also a tad annoyed by its frivolity. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Minnilux
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable memoir of this famous cook's time in France
and her falling in love with French food and her journey learning how to cook it.

Frustrating that some of the fascinating photos are not captioned.
Published 2 months ago by jmg
5.0 out of 5 stars love Julia!
great book, inspiring woman would definitely recommend to everyone. The film Julie and Julia was great and made me want the book
Published 3 months ago by chelseaangel1985
5.0 out of 5 stars This book really helped me enjoy my trip to Paris
I had been to Paris a few times many years ago. I know this will be appalling to many, but those experiences left me not loving Paris. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars RIP Julia
I first became aware of Julia Child in the 1970s as a teenager living in thee States. My friend Charles and I would meet eat our house for a late breakfast and watch The French... Read more
Published 5 months ago by D. R. J. Parkins
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting if you like cooking and France
Bought the book after watching the film. Quite a good autobiography, but unlikely to appeal to a young audience - baby boomers and older will like the historical aspects of 50s and... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Debbie Rainer
5.0 out of 5 stars halcyon days
The days of great French cuisine are long gone, I live in France, the French are happy with McDonalds, Pizzas and Kebabs. Read more
Published 5 months ago by B. L. Rudd
5.0 out of 5 stars A lovely trip around Paris and the French culture
I borrowed this book from a friend after seeing the film Julie and Julia. I did not really have any expectations and so I was very surprised when I thoroughly enjoyed the book. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Fish
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