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Julia Child

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  605 Ratings  ·  119 Reviews
A biography of Julia Child from the award-winning author of Perfection Salad

One of the most beloved figures in 20th century American culture was Julia Child, the bouyant French Chef who taught millions of Americans to cook with confidence and eat with pleasure. With an irrepressible sense of humor and a passion for good food, Child ushered in the nation's culinary renais

Hardcover, Penguin Lives Biographies, 185 pages
Published April 5th 2007 by Viking (first published 2007)
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(showing 1-30)
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Jul 13, 2009 rated it liked it
This is an easy-to-read account of Julia Child, her life, her marriage, and other information about her. It has the benefit of not being to wandering or in-depth, as are some other bios about the American woman who helped create the seminal French cookbook for the home cook and brought public cooking shows back to life.

Shapiro probably spends a little too much time defining Childs' politics - beliefs shaped by her time, her dislike of her dad's conservative, but her unwillingness to understand
I loved to sleep over my grandparent's house a lot when I was younger. I used to watch her cook. She was so deliberate yet graceful in her movements as she folded eggs into flour or packed a cabbage leaf with a mixture of butter, onions, and hamburger. She could spend hours working on a dish then to my amazement deem it "not good enough" and put it in the fridge for our family to eat, or if it was "not right" (only in her discriminating opinion was there anything "not right" with the food she ha ...more
Erin Beckwith
Jan 11, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
this book was given to me as a birthday present in September and, having little to no interest in Julia Child, I put off reading it until recently when my other options were dense tomes that I didn't have the stamina to touch. Having just read Sarah Vowell, who's writing voice is so original, honest, and non-cliched, this book seemed utterly dry and typical at first. About 50 pages in, I'd learned enough about Child's life to care about her future, so I kept reading. It was really Julia that mad ...more
Sophia Musgrave
Jan 16, 2010 rated it really liked it
Since seeing Julie and Julia I was more interested in the real life of Julia Child. This author does not disappoint! Although this biography was a bit short, it gave all the details necessary to make an informed picture of one of the world's most fascinating women. I also liked how Julia's truly personal and human characteristic were brought to light and praised. As said in this biography, Julia was always Julia to everyone she met, not just the formal Mrs. Child. She dispensed with all formalit ...more
This is a short listen, but it's really engaging. The narration is done by a niece of Julia Child's, and she really does a good impression of her aunt's voice without it being campy or annoying -- kind of essential for an audiobook about Julia Child!

What's interesting about this book, despite how fast it goes, is that it doesn't skate over Julia Child's flaws -- she was a human, just like all of us, not just a good kitchen fairy. What's so interesting about Julia Child is her charisma, and this
Carol Ann
Sep 22, 2009 rated it liked it
While this was an interesting behind the scene look at Julia Child, I realized that bringing her to life was impossible. Ms Shapiro described Julia's enthusiasm and told us of her love affair with food, but Julia remained one dimensional. Because of repeats of her PBS show I knew what Ms Shapiro was trying to say. Unfortunately I still do not really know what French cuisine is, other than a set of rules. I do have something in common with Julia, I too love oysters!
Listened to the audiobook of this bits and pieces at a time over a month. Having only experienced Julia Child previously in the movie featuring Meryl Streep I was interested in hearing more about her, her life, and her cooking. Which this book delivered.

I particularly enjoyed the mention of a green jello salad recipe that Julia disliked as it is one that my grandmother used to make and continues to be made each Christmas long after she was gone, that I also don't care for. heh.
Jul 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
An easy, quick read about the makings of an amazing, inspiring, Julia Child. From her days as a file- clerk to how she became a tv cooking sensation, this books touches on all the highlights we all know and love about Julia Child. Loved this little book!
Aug 14, 2017 rated it it was ok
Homewood Public Library
Mar 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, biography
This account about Julia Child is enjoyable and interesting from the first page of the preface to the last page of the book. What we saw of her on television was the animation of a woman of may facets. Her life began in California where she grew into a society girl-fun loving and carefree. Her college days were spent at Smith where she continued enjoying friends and parties. During World War II she realized that she had better start getting serious about life. So she made the leap from society g ...more
Lee L.
Nov 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
Did you know that Julia Child was a devout atheist? There are many details about Julia Child's life that her adoring public did not know. This small but comprehensive biography is an excellent overview of her long life and successful career. I had heard about her work during World War II, but I didn't know the details of her training, how her acclaimed first cook book came to be, or what went into the success of her TV shows. All these things and more are included here.

What shocked me the most w
Dec 01, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
As usual, I like to start with what the audio version takes or deducts from a piece of writing. In this case, I thought the narrator did such a poor job impersonating Julia Child’s unusual intonations that it was distracting! I could always hear the narrator’s normal voice behind her “Julia” voice, and I wish she just didn’t even try!
Now that that’s out of the way, I thought this biography provided detailed and honest insights into Julia’s true personality. I had no idea she was homophobic, did
Dec 02, 2012 rated it liked it
This was a fairly short (5.7 hours) audiobook from the library. I had listened to a podcast on Julia from The History Chicks and was intrigued enough to dig around for more on her. I think everyone knows who she is, but there was more to her than her famous voice and TV series.

Ah, the lady loved food. And wine. How can you not love someone so enthusiastic about being happy?

“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude.”
― Julia Child

Maybe it's because I've already read three other books about Julia. There was not much in this one that was new, except Julia's attitude towards Gays which was not admirable, and her rejection of the movement to improve the food industry and remove irradiated foods, and other food manipulations from our market was disappointing. I had always thought of Julia as having high standards when it came to food and cooking and this acceptance of whatever the food industry told her over when should have ...more
Aug 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
All right. I admit it. I love Julia.

I'm probably late to this parade but I don't care. I, like millions of others, fell in love with her watching The French Chef. That show made me buy a book, for cryin' out loud! [Since I'm more of the borrow-from-the-library type this was a big thing.]

This book is short, direct and an incredibly easy read. Packed chock full of great things. There isn't a wasted page. They are jammed full of Julia information. How she was raised, schooled, what she chose to do
Oct 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was an incredibly interesting biography. I have been a fan of Julia Child's since I first watched The French Chef on my local PBS channel as a kid and have long been interested in learning more about her. I was, however, concerned about reading a biography that would treat Julia has kind of a cult hero, a larger than life figure not to be trifled with.

I was pleasantly surprised that Shapiro did not stray from depicting the whole Julia. Although you can tell that Shapiro does admire Julia, s
May 03, 2010 rated it liked it
This was a very different read than the other Julia biography I just finished which was written by a good friend - someone who worked on her cooking team for years. That one focused on the positive of Julia, on her life after she was already the Julia Child, and had many personal stories and photos that gave insight into Julia's inspiring personality. This one did not leave me quite as inspired, but left me with a more thorough, realistic view of Julia and her development from someone who was l ...more
Dec 19, 2009 rated it liked it
This short (181) page biography of Julia Child tells her life story and unlocks her broad appeal to the American public. I always enjoyed watching The French Chef, I own Mastering the Art of French Cooking, although I confess that I have only tried a few recipes from the book (all huge successes), and I have visited Julia's kitchen which now resides at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. Julia's story is a fascinating one--beginning in California as a wealthy society party-girl, moving into the ...more
Oct 17, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I cannot say that I was a Julia Child fan before I read this book. I didn't really know anything about her. I don't even think I'd ever seen a live clip of her-----just the imitations on Saturday Night Live. Boy, has that changed! She was an incredible person, an incredible chef. She wasn't just a celebrity on tv or someone who compiled recipes. She hyper-analyzed every single recipe, every ingredient, sometimes making recipes 20 times in a row to find what was best and making sure she got the r ...more
Jul 19, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: biographies
A sweet, enjoyable bio of Julia Child--I was inspired to read this as I recently saw "Julie and Julia" and just had to know more! Rather than re-hash her life (which was quite interesting!), I will leave you with a great quote from the chef herself.

Julia's definition of a good cook is "one who is consistently good--not just a little flair here and there. She can turn out a good meal either simple or complicated, can adapt herself to conditions, and has enough experience to change a failure into
Ellen Johnson
Jan 22, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
My mom was the suburban housewife looking for convenience that never bought into Julia Child's labor intensive type of cooking for fun. But my dad might have liked it if she'd come along after he retired and started watching Food Network.

Fun to think of how attitudes toward food change and which segments of society can and do adopt which perspectives, though the book is never too philosophical. I enjoyed getting to know more about Julia in this little book. I had checked out Spitz's new Dearie a
Sep 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
This was a quick and engaging read. Not sure if I liked it as much as I did because it fell on the heels of 'Julie and Julia' (which I couldn't stand) or if it's because it's truly one of the better biographies that I've read. The author explored the many facets of Julia Child making her a breathing living human instead of a comical caricature. She is much more than what is broadcast to the public, and this book helped give context and richness to a woman who lived life to the fullest of her cap ...more
Oct 05, 2015 rated it liked it
An easy, breezy read. Not sure that it adds significantly to My Life in France, but still enjoyable. Most of the new info was around her feelings on feminism (or lack of feelings on the topic) and some of the mean comments she made about gay people. That aside, this woman truly embodies joie de vivre. She had such a great energy and infectious enthusiasm, it's a pleasure to read about her. Her marriage and relationship with Paul was so totally kind, loving, mutually supportive, etc., etc. that I ...more
Marcia Johnston
Sep 07, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Before reading this book, I knew enough about Julia to appreciate Dan Aykroyd's famous parody on SNL and Meryl Streep's portrayal in "Julie and Julia." Thanks to my serendipitous discovery of Laura Shapiro's book in a used bookstore, I now know enough to encourage all of you to find out more about this remarkable woman. If you're looking for a comprehensive biography, this isn't the book for you. But if you want a peek into the life of a woman who inspired millions with her boundless knowledge a ...more
Ceily Hamilton
Dec 17, 2007 rated it really liked it
I'm not big on biographies, but this little volume caught my eye. I started loving Julia Child when Maggie was little and we'd catch her with Jacques Pepin. She was just so friendly and enthusiastic. I don't remember much about the first shows she had on PBS, but I'm sure I must have seen them.

Julia was the quintessential late bloomer, finding love and her life's work after 30, and never losing her good cheer despite many setbacks. The book is a nice, compact social history of post-war middle A
Oct 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
If you have a mild interest in Julia Child, you'll find this brief bio very interesting. I'd just finished reading a much, much longer and in-depth biography of her so the vast majority of what was in this book was also present in the previous book. However, there were a few short anecdotes that were new to me and these hidden gems were enough to keep me reading it. However, if I knew of someone who was mildly interested in her life and her career, I would suggest this book to be read. The true ...more
Mar 20, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016
I thought the author did a great job illustrating Julia's loving, comfortable, fun, and endearing personality, and I enjoyed learning about her life. The last third of the book, however, discussed Julia's political views which didn't add to the picture that had been portrayed of Julia to that point in the book. At that point, I found myself wondering why I even picked up the book in the first place, and skimmed to the end.

Content: brief discussion about adult themes (homosexuality and virginity)
usagi ☆ミ
I can see why this book earned the 2008 Literary Food Writing Award. After reading "My Life in France", which was in Child's own voice (though aided by her grand-nephew as they were finishing this book within the last year of her life), this book is almost as if Child herself is writing it.

It's actually quite scary how much Shapiro captures Child's life, and how much like Child she uses her words to create the most sumptuous imagery of food, life, and La Belle France. Reading this biography mak
Tamara Jill
Jan 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I'm not exactly sure why this book was so fun but it really was. Shapiro captured Julia's spirit so well! I have zero interest in cooking shows or French food but I'm going to look up old shows and check out one of the cookbooks. If I can find an interested friend, maybe plan a tribute meal to Julia to thank her for bringing such intensity to the common kitchen. I'm also adopting as my mantra her top advice: time and love.
Mar 05, 2008 rated it liked it
Having watched Julia Child on PBS for many years as a child/teen, and after ogling her preserved kitchen in the Smithsonian, I was very interested in finding out a bit about her life. How surprised and disappointed to find out that even though she was a devoted feminist, she was rabidly homophobic. It was even more surprising to learn that the openly gay James Beard was one of her best friends. But, an interesting lady to say the least, and I enjoyed the biography.
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Laura Shapiro is an award winning author who worked at Newsweek for over 15 years.
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