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My Life in France

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  86,808 ratings  ·  7,800 reviews
In her own words, here is the story of Julia Child's years in France, where she fell in love with French food and found her "true calling." Filled with the black-and-white photographs that her husband Paul loved to take when he was not battling bureaucrats, as well as family snapshots, this memoir is laced with stories about the French character, particularly in the world ...more
Paperback, 333 pages
Published October 9th 2007 by Anchor Books (first published 2006)
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Rhoda Julia stated, "The longer I was in France, the stronger and more ecstatic my feelings for it became. I missed my family, of course, and things like ce…moreJulia stated, "The longer I was in France, the stronger and more ecstatic my feelings for it became. I missed my family, of course, and things like certain cosmetics or really good coffee. But the U.S. seemed like an increasingly distant and dreamlike place.(less)

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I did not grow up on Julia Child. I’m too young to have watched her TV show, and my mom wasn’t the type to own any of her cookbooks (we stuck to mostly Italian recipes handed down from my dad’s mom and ranch-style cooking- or, if we were unlucky, my British nanny’s “traditional” English dishes she insisted we try). I barely knew who she was before I started cooking a few years ago. I admit that I wasn’t really interested in her until the recent movie Julie and Julia, which definitely made me wan ...more
it seems like there are probably 817 films, books, tv shows, and documentaries about julia child.

and that is completely appropriate.

review to come / 4 stars


life goals
Sep 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Oh, how I love and adore this book. It's one of the best I've read lately, combining as it does my love of France, Julia, and food in one funny, touching package. Julia Child was such a unique, eccentric, brilliant woman, and I'm always inspired when I realize that she struggled along at loose ends for years before finding her true passion and calling.

Her marriage to Paul Child is beautifully portrayed in the book. He was quite a worldly, erudite man, and very forward-thinking for his time in th
Richard Derus
Mar 04, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating: 3.875* of five

The Book Report: Truth in advertising had no greater champion than Julia Child. Her book is called exactly and precisely what it is: The narrative of her life in France. She begins her book on November 3, 1948, with the Child family landing at Le Havre, getting into their gigantic Buick station wagon, and motoring off across northern France towards Paris. They stop at thirty-six-year-old native Californian Mrs. Child's first French restaurant, La Couronne, where her husband
Petra X is feeling so stressed she has eczema
I didn't know anything about Julia Child apart from having heard her name and that she was 6' tall until the book Julie and Julia. I read that and whereas I didn't think much of Julie at all (I think she should go back to blogging, a book's a bit much for her) I was curious about Julia.

The book is beautifully written by her nephew Paul Prud'homme and illustrated with many photographs from her talented ex-diplomat husband Paul. Its a lovely story of a life through cooking and inspired by France a
Dana Stabenow
I spent the summer of 1987 in Paris, studying beginning French at the Sorbonne and staying at the Cité Universitaire, in a program geared toward older students. Some of them wanted to take a cooking class, and the Sorbonne organized it for them. They needed one more student to make it go, and I was browbeaten into filling the empty space.

Understand, I was raised on the five Alaskan staples of Spam, Bisquick, Velveeta, Pilot Bread and Carnation Instant Milk. If we didn't get our moose that year w
Aug 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Julia fans, foodies, people who like travel writing, lovers of good Biography
Recommended to Mahlon by: Saw Julie and Julia
Shelves: read-2009
I've never been a fan of Julia Child, and whenever I ran across her show on PBS I'd make a conscious effort to change the channel, which was why I was surprised when My Life in France turned out to be one of the most well-written, engaging Autobiographies I've read in quite awhile. The book covers roughly the same time period as the movie Julie & Julia except that it extends into the mid-70's and discusses the beginning of her TV career and the writing of her second book. Even though it was comp ...more
A nice window on Child’s love affair with France and its food starting in the post war period. Her relationship with her husband Paul was a high point of the book. I appreciated her practical and good humored approaches to the challenges and solutions to helping the average household achieving quality meals. Some of her friendships and conflicts have some life and color, but for the most part the story came across as bland and sanitized. Some of her passion for particular foods comes through, su ...more
Left Coast Justin
My three-star rating in no way reflects my opinion of this extraordinary woman and her extraordinary life. Her accomplishments and accolades were many, but I wouldn't count writing her memoir among her primary skills.

France and French culture are two things I've managed to ignore for most of my life. Recently, however, I've found myself pulled ever-closer to it, with my most-admirable French lady boss, my increasingly frequent trips there and the realization that -- Well. My wife and I both occu
May 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a beauty! It's been a week since I finished reading this and it's still stuck in my mind. I had never thought a biography of Julia Child would be of much interest to me. I only picked this up out of curiosity after watching Julie and Julia. I hated Julie but was intrigued by Meryl Streep in the role of Julia. But even so, I didn't have high hopes from the book.

My Life in France proved to be a beautiful piece of work. It is written by Alex Prud'homme, Julia's great-nephew, who spent days try
Sep 03, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lighthearted and fun recollections of Julia's first years in France. Highly recommended for anyone already enthralled by Julia, whether by her television programs or her excellent cookbooks.

Readers who do not know Julia may find the book a little too rambling, and a little too focused on food they've never tasted and have no idea what it even is (often she does not give translations for food names).

As noted in the introduction, the book was pieced together from conversations Julia's nephew had
Mar 14, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Izzy by: Melissa
Shelves: travel, food, bio
I think the reasons I wanted to read this book are that Julia's always thought of as a late bloomer, and because her travels were so influential in helping her discover herself.

Certainly, her life had great adventure.

Highlights: p. 268

Too tired and busy to go to France. "But then we looked at each other and repeated a favorite phrase from our diplomatic days: "Remember, 'No one's more important than people.'!" In other words, friendship is the most important thing - not career or housework, or
This was such a lovely reading experience, for lots of reasons. I felt refreshed while reading it, and afterwards. I’ve since made a little hobby of revisiting old episodes of The French Chef on YouTube because they are calming and delightful (and I can make a French omelet now!).

I spent a lot of time in my childhood watching PBS because my dad was cheap and wouldn’t pay for cable, so that meant lots of Julia Child. I remember not caring so much about the food but loving how goofy and unpretenti
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Oct 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Foodies; Francophiles
Recommended to Lisa (Harmonybites) by: The Ultimate Reading List - Biography
I found this an absorbing read, and I'm no foodie. But I think what's striking in this memoir of Child's love affair with French food is her drive, her dedication to excellence, her passion--there's something attractive in that no matter what the endeavor--as well as fascinating to get a picture of such an elite, esoteric world as high cuisine. It all started for Julia in 1948, when she had her first French meal. When she came to France she knew only a smattering of such French phrases as "Merci ...more
“Madame Scheeld” – since reading this book, I’ve been smiling at how the French would address Julia Child. I love accents!

This is a delightful book about Julia Child and the things that she loved the most: her husband, France, cooking, and eating. I’m quite sure that I’m in the minority in that before reading this, I’d never watched an entire episode of Julia Child on TV. I was sad when the book was over, but now I have my eyes set on getting some of her cookbooks and looking up some of her sh
If you love books about food or about living in France, this is a must-read. It's the story of how Julia Child learned to cook French food and how she came to write that famous cookbook. (The movie "Julie & Julia" was partially based on this memoir.) The book is filled with charming anecdotes about Paris and Marseille, and includes dozens of photographs that her husband, Paul, took. It's one of the most delightful travel books I've read in years.

What's wonderful about Julia Child is the confiden
Peter Tillman
Best biography I've read in years. With 7,000+ reviews and 74,000+ ratings, I will be brief. If you're at all interested in Julia Child and/or French cooking/culture, this is the book for you.

The real review here to read is Melissa's,
And, if you're another Dana Stabenow fan:

A couple of anecdotes: in 1950, they got a new maid for their Paris apt. -- who promptly tried to flush a beer can down the toilet. C
Jan 24, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: france, memoir
The French food and ambiance described on these pages was sublime and provided the escape I sought. Additionally, I enjoyed learning more about Julia Child and her life in la belle France, as remembered and written with her great nephew. Julia & Paul's journey was reflected upon in a lovely series of vignettes, letters, photos, and stories that carried them through years of living around Europe and the US. The historical & literary references sprinkled therein have inspired me to learn more abou ...more
Jan 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A thorough delight! After all her marvelous culinary contributions, Julia Child (with her nephew, Alex Prud'homme) has created a literary gem--one that will no doubt fill your tastebuds with longing but will satisfy many other senses as it is a joyous, exuberant, intelligent and touching memoir sharing her love for husband Paul, for France, and for good food! I admit that I was fascinated by Julia Child's cooking shows when they aired re-runs on PBS during my childhood--what a big woman, with su ...more
Oct 07, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I expected to really enjoy this book. I came to it from the movie Julie and Julia, because I loved the movie’s portrayal of this large, fun-loving, charming American who finds her passion for food while living in Paris; I couldn’t wait to delve deeper into Julia and Paul’s adventures in France. Unfortunately, it turns out Meryl Streep endowed Julia Child with a charm and humility that is entirely missing from this book. In its place is a woman whose snobbishness, smug superiority and self-satisf ...more
Jan 27, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Interested in living abroad and/or cooking
Recommended to Agnes by: Liz Glasgow
I love Julia Child, it turns out! This memoir is fun and I want to live her life. I want to live in Paris, Marseille, Oslo and Boston too, creating sumptuous recipes, hanging out with James Beard and decorating a summer house in Provence. Seriously, why am I not her? I wouldn't even mind being dead since 2004.

I am totally convinced that her cookbooks are the foremost authorities on French cooking, now that I've seen how many times she would experiment with a basic recipe to get it right. Makes m
Aug 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked the style of how this book was written--very organized, just as Julia was! Can you imagine writing such a cookbook as she did with no computer to keep tabs on all the testing, changes, etc? She would have loved Good Eats when Alton Brown does all his chemistry talk especially with all the testing of mayonnaise, of all things!

I realized early on that Julia and I would not be friends--she was so focused and intense. Was anyone else surprised that she didn't watch tv until after she
Aishu Rehman
If you're a fan of Julia Child or French cooking, or love France, you'll love this witty book. Co-written near the end of her lifetime, My Life is France gives an intimate perspective of Julia Child's joy with life, France, and cooking. If you own Mastering the Art of French Cooking, this is a perfect companion piece. It's also a great gift for good and/or aspiring cooks. It might even inspire the poor or non-cook. ...more
joyce g
Jul 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well what can I add to my loving Julia Child as a food personality and chef. She is iconic in her love of life and someone I have always admired.
Never Apologize!!
Nov 17, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting. I can't say I was crazy about the style, or Julia herself, for that matter, but her enthusiasm and energy came across clearly (relentlessly!) and I found her story to be, mostly, engaging.

Though I'm not actually interested in French food as a general thing, I do remember Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking as a fixture on my mom's cookbook shelf, and I find the social history aspect of the thing – the growing curiosity and excitement about gourmet cooking alongside the incre
Feb 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a Christmas gift from my best-friend-forever Ariel, and a perfect read not only for foodies and urban farmgirls like myself, but anyone who's going through the "if not now, when?" blues. As some previous Goodreaders have already noted, it's a bit of a revelation to read about someone so famous (or infamous, if you've seen Dan Ackroyd's histrionic impersonation of "Jules") being such a late bloomer. This is America, and even though Miss Thing found herself in France, we prefer our great ...more
This book really opened my eyes to Julia's passion to excel at French cooking over the course of her lifetime, which really took a great deal of courage and conviction given the lack of American female role models. I thought the writing seemed a bit choppy in parts though that probably was due to Julia's death in 2004, before she would have been able to fill in some of the narrative. A great read for anyone who appreciates fine food. ...more
Years ago, in preparation for a class project in a YA Lit class in library school, my professor asked me who my hero was. (The having of a hero apparently being a given.) I told her that I didn't really have heroes and she was aghast. "No heroes?" she asked sadly, before brightening just as quickly and asking, "What about Elenore Roosevelt?"

After reading My Life in France, however, I am happy to report that I am as close to having a hero as I've ever been. Julia Child: left-leaning, wayward daug
Dec 04, 2011 rated it did not like it
I will say that this book made me want to buy her cookbooks, because it is clear that she painstakingly researched recipes to make them foolproof and accessible to the American chef. However, by the time this book was over, I didn't like Julia at all. She seemed more focused on her Dad's narrowmindedness (don't understand why this was relevant), her co-author's stubbornness (when it was clear that she had plenty of it herself) and the superiority of her cookbook to all others than the eagerness, ...more
Jeanette (Ms. Feisty)
Julia was a remarkable woman! I doubt she even realized just how extraordinary she was. Her greatest successes came at an age when most people think their best years have already passed them by.
I'm not fond of French cuisine or rich foods in general, but there is much to enjoy in this book, even if some of the food doesn't sound appealing.
I admire her enthusiasm and eagerness to just dive in wherever she was and learn the language and experience absolutely everything.
It was a revelation to me
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Julia Child was a famous American cook, author, and television personality who introduced French cuisine and cooking techniques to the American mainstream through her many cookbooks and television programs. Her most famous works are the 1961 cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking and, showcasing her sui generis television persona, the series The French Chef, which premiered in 1963.

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