Julia’s Life in France

I was surprised to find out that Julie & Julia the movie was not solely adapted from Julie & Julia the book (which itself is based on The Julie/Julia Project the blog). The parts that were set in France of the 1950s, portrayed uncannily by Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci, were drawn from My Life in France, written by Julia Child (just before she passed away) with her great-nephew Alex Prud’homme.

My Life in France, by Julia Child
My Life in France, by Julia Child

I just finished reading My Life in France, and I absolutely loved it. One of my favorite books. Ranks right up there with Michael Ruhlman’s The Making of a Chef and Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma. I felt sad to put it down when I reached the end, and yet I couldn’t hold myself back from just plowing through it. Thankfully it was thick and meaty, weighing in at around 330 pages.

I somewhat expected it to be an abbreviated autobiography, covering only the years she lived in Paris and Marseilles, but it managed to encompass her whole life, with a lens on the most important and formative parts. The movie captures the general thrust, but the book delves further into her embrace of television (a new medium at the time), the second Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and her winters spent in Provence.

6 Comments

I loved this book, too. She was an amazing woman.

There’s a set of PBS DVDs that include some of her early shows. There are moments that are hilarious. While watching them, I found myself thinking that she really embodied the spirit of MAKE, from a food angle.

That is good to know. I was not a fan of the Julie & Julia book, or Julie Powell in general. Julia Child is swell, however. Maybe I will get around to reading this.

Ha. I wonder how well the movie Julie & Julia would hold up sans Julie.

I completely agree, Justin. This was a wonderful book and I didn’t want it to end!

I found your blog from some evening surfing – and what a surprise to see this book! I got this book right after it came out – I think I read it after the Julie Powell book.

I found the ending of Powell’s book an emotional experience, but I agree with others – this is a far better book.

I often compared Julia’s luck in being able to travel like she did, exploring a new world in France through her love for her husband and also the food she discovered. I often thought how would I have traded her opportunity, in that time, for how I spend my own time.

To learn via Andre’s blog that you have set off on travels of your own speaks to your ability to take a bit of the Julia spirit to heart. May luck and adventure follow you.

John, thanks for the kind comments. I also love that My Life in France opens with Julia and Paul on the SS America on their way from New York to Le Havre.

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