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Julia Child Rules: Lessons on Savoring Life

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  393 ratings  ·  84 reviews
Many of us have dog-eared copies of Mastering the Art of French Cooking in our kitchens or fondly remember watching episodes of The French Chef, but what was behind the enormous appeal of this ungainly, unlikely woman, who became a superstar in midlife and changed our approach to food and cooking forever?
In the spirit of The Gospel According to Coco Chanel and How Georgia
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published October 1st 2013 by skirt! (first published January 1st 2013)
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Sep 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I am a huge fan of the great Julia, so this book was calling for me, “Pick me up, Cyndi. You know you want too!” Of course many books call to me this way (or maybe I’m just hearing voices. 🤷🏼‍♀️)
This is a very well researched and very well written biography of a great lady. The author and her friend spend time in France to research the places Julia cooked in and wrote her books. (Wish I could travel to France to research a book. Like wine 🍷I could go to France, drink lots of wine and then writ
Dec 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Yet another Julia Child book that was a pure delight. My only quibble was the author had lots of footnotes. Now I know I need new glasses, but most of the time I missed the asterisk, so I ended up just reading them on their own or searching for the spot in the copy. Really annoying. I tried to let it go, but just couldn’t.
Karla Starr
Oct 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
You know those times when a book magically appears at just the right time and place in your life? Even if things are going fine and dandy, I guarantee you'll feel that way after reading Julia Child Rules. I'm not much of a cook, and don't know much about Julia Child beyond the movie Julie and Julia, but you don't have to in order to appreciate this awesome book. Karbo's writing style is vivid, warm, and engaging.

I devoured this book--in little nibbles--because every time I put it down, I had a s
Nov 19, 2014 rated it liked it
This was a curious read. At times, I was really bored when it became more about the author's childhood and her lack of interest in cooking. What did keep me reading was the interesting life of Julia Child. She is a fascinating, fastidious(in the culinary sense) person who truly exemplifies joie de vivre, through out all of her many endeavors. I loved hearing about Julia's process in writing the cookbook. That was amazing and so insightful. I am really inspired to find a copy of the second editio ...more
Feb 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This Karen Karbo book was a delight to read.

I read it after reading Julie & Julia so I recommend you also read both books together.

Karen Karbo details her infatuation with Julia Child. The most memorable part of the book was when she and a friend rent an apartment in Paris to cook a Julia Child-inspired meal in the kitchen.

As a cook myself, I'm drawn to any book that talks about a love of cooking. Cooking a meal isn't sexist. Men can benefit from cooking too. It's a lost art: to cook with love o
Nov 06, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: gave-up-on
Sigh. I wanted to like it. Unfortunately somewhere shy of half way, I tossed this book aside to pick up something more enjoyable. And I cannot make myself go back to it.
I thought at first it was the way the author squints at Child thru the lens of her own life and self-proclaimed neuroses, in order to derive Important Life Lessons for us all. Then I thought maybe it was the way she spends half of each chapter whining about why she herself does not love to cook. However, what finally drove me awa
Feb 11, 2015 rated it it was ok
Poorly written. Disjointed. Expected to read more about the life and times of Julia Child. There was some biography of interest; thus, the two stars. Much ridiculous introspection and opinions from the author that were difficult to understand, especially how they related to Julia's life story. Yet there they were like a red herring. This was a thoroughly disappointing read and merely a vehicle for Karbo to stroke her massive ego. Not a good read and definitely not in my wildest imaginings, a rec ...more
Lesley Looper
Jul 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, cooking, 2015
I really enjoyed this book, in part because Julia Child came across as someone very likeable, while living life on her own terms. I enjoyed learning about Julia's persistence and tenacity when working on recipes, and how she considered herself a teacher.

I was inspired to complete this book after attending a Cookbook Club yesterday at the local public library, lead by my librarian friend, Jenny. :-)
Sue Kliewer
Oct 11, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2013
I don't quite know what I was expecting but this wasn't it.
Apr 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Julia Child was a woman who lived life to the fullest, celebrated every momemt, and was fiercely passionate about the people and things she loved. Having watched her as a child on her PBS cooking show and Good Morning America, in addition to reading My Life in France and Julie and Julia, I thought I knew a lot about her. This book proved me wrong. I may not agree with the kind of food she loved to cook, since most of her recipes would add 50# to me in a flash, but her outlook on life and how to ...more
Joy Weese Moll
Sep 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
In the latest of her Kick Ass Women series, Karen Karbo cooks up some “Lessons on Savoring Life” by examining the problems and passions in the biography of Julia Child. Here’s one reason Julia Child’s life is so illuminating for contemporary women:

"My theory is that our real attachment to Julia is less about her cooking, or even about what she did for the cause of serious cuisine, and more about our admiration for her immutable aptitude for being herself. Julia’s real genius wasn’t in breaking d
Dec 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
At times hilarious, at times informative, and thoroughly enjoyable at all times. Looking at other reviews, it seems that some people went into this book expecting to get something in particular out of it, so my advice to the would-be reader is to let go of any expectations and simply get cozy with this book. Not particularly serious, not particular life-changing, but fun.

Entertaining, personal, well-researched. Some well-played self-deprecating humor. Great footnotes, whether funny or illuminat
Jun 13, 2014 rated it liked it
I disagree with some of her "lessons" and I always wonder about the accuracy of second-hand biographies like this. This is the only book about Julia Child I have read; I am not interested in the kind of food she cooked either. What is interesting about this book is that it's more about the life of a free spirit and a great woman who refused to scramble to fit in with everyone else in her generation. The tone is quite positive, and I learned a lot; not just about Julia, but about Greatest Generat ...more
Blythe McGarvie
Jan 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
You will find the best inspiration for how to be authentic and solve the problem in front of you while learning about the younger and unmarried Julia Child before she became famous. I had not heard of the Karen Karbo, but I liked the way she interweaves her own story as a millennial into what was happening with Julia. She creates ten rules which I wish I had written. Not a preachy book, more like a journal on how to have fun, find your passion and how to go from simmering about ideas to creating ...more
Jul 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was the perfect book to read while in bed recuperating from a nasty virus! I have always been a big Julia fan-her life was interesting and inspiring in a time when women were not encouraged to be either. Her biography was wonderful. Seeing her kitchen in the Smithsonian is always fascinating (yes, I really think that is the non-hyperbolic description it is worthy of) and I even started watching her old French Chef series, which streams live for free on the Roku with an Amazon prime account. ...more
Ann Hipson
Sep 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a light weight book that is deceptive--inside the fun chatter is some real meat on how to live your life with the gusto and zest of Julia Child. Some of the advice is unattainable--have rich parents, find a husband as supportive as Paul Child but the meat comes from looking at Julia's acceptance of herself as she was, her perseverance, her energy, her love of eating, and her failure to be what most people thought she should be. That failure made her the icon she is to many of us.

May 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is the fourth book I've read in Karbo's series on strong women, and I loved it. I've always known the name "Julia Child", but until this reading I did not really understand how she fit into America history. The book is a witty and fast read, centered around Julia's 10 rules of life, such as Live with Abandon, Obey Your Whims, etc. At the end I had a much stronger sense of who Julia was, where she came from, what she did for American cooks, and inspirational quotes and quips. There was one a ...more
Cameron Toney
Mar 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: a-readable-feast
I love Julia Child. I will read anything by or about her. She's such a fabulous person, with such an interesting life and this totally buoyant personality. She charms the socks off me, inspires me, and amuses me. So I was happy to pick up this little volume and see what Julia Child wisdom it could give me.
I keep finding that when people write about Julia Child they almost always end up writing about themselves as well, and Karen Karbo is no exception to this rule. Part story of Julia's life, par
Jan 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book, for the most part. This was almost two biographies/autobiographies in one. Karen Karbo interjects much of her own history, mostly to demonstrate why her high interest in Julia Child's life.

I've discovered that Julia Child was a much more interesting person than I had previously thought. She led an exciting life, doing things that most women didn't have the opportunity to do in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s. She worked for the OSS, and traveled the world, long before she became
Aug 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
I am not sure what I expected when I picked up this book but I can honestly say I was pleasantly surprised by how much fun I had reading it! Part Julia Child biography, sprinkled with the author's delightful and sometimes laugh out loud antidotes about aging, Paris, and food, as well as sentimental at times when Karbo reminisced about her mother. But mostly, it was about Julia Child. While there were a few childish pranks she participated in that probably were annoying if one was on the receivin ...more
Maya Senen
Mar 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
My stinginess with five star ratings notwithstanding, this truly is a gem. Karbo shares the non-fiction business of “Julia” while weaving in her narrative and ours. These are troubling times, where the temptation is to “get things right” have “grammable” moments, and generally be about the self-improvement movement. After all, if you aren’t in therapy now, what will it take?? Turns out, left to our own devices, we often over-solution the problems of everyday life. It might just be, slow down, en ...more
Abby Halling
Aug 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is pretty much my ideal book; I love memoirs with humor, and Karbo humanizes Julia Child. She may seem to be a goddess of cooking, but she has the right lifestyle. I fine myself, after reading this, a bit obsessed with Julia.
Wendie Berry
May 05, 2020 rated it liked it
This was an interesting book, but probably not one I would have chosen for myself. It was a gift. Although it talked about Julia's life and her so called lessons, it was mainly the author's take on what Julia meant to her.
Jennifer Hochberg
Aug 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Such a great read with wonderful life lessons, courtesy of Julia!
May 06, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: gave-up
Unfortunately, too much about the author and not enough about Julia.
Pamela Hale
Jun 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
So good I bought a used copy from Amazon. Julia rocks!
J. Muro
Jan 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I want to be Julia Child! So wonderful a life! But my burning question is, did she ever wash the dishes she cooked up, after, or had some kind of help?
Jan 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is delightful and inspiring!
Kay Dixon
Jan 25, 2020 rated it liked it
A fun read. A portrait of Julia Child that is entertaining and inspiring.
Mar 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Every time I read something about Julia Child I learn something new about her and I like her even more! This author had a nice angle: 'How to live like Julia' and she was very entertaining to read. I think I will search out her other books too!
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Karen Karbo's first novel, Trespassers Welcome Here, was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, and a Village Voice Top Ten Book of the Year. Her other two adult novels, The Diamond Lane and Motherhood Made a Man Out of Me, were also named New York Times Notable Books. The Stuff of Life, about the last year she spent with her father before his death, was an NYT Notable Book, a People Magazine ...more

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“Julia arrived at “just do it” as a personal credo long before Nike snapped it up. Nothing anyone thought about her could stop her. Imagine a life in which you’re never too anything for anything. Never too old to go back and get that degree. Never too uncoordinated to cut loose on the dance floor. Never too wrong-of-body to wear that swimsuit and throw yourself into the waves.” 2 likes
“Years later, when Julia was famous she would often receive letters from people who asked not simply how they might learn to cook. They already knew the answer: The owned her cookbooks, but they were yearning to know how they might become passionate about it. She always answered the same thing: Go to France and eat.” 2 likes
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