Jon Cox's Reviews > My Life in France

My Life in France by Julia Child
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Sep 28, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: history-politics, non-fiction, romance, travel
Read in September, 2010

In general, I enjoyed this book immensely. It made me want to go live in a foreign country. Well, it amplified my desire to go live in a foreign country. I also enjoyed learning about the hard work that Julia Childs put into making two terrible weaknesses of hers into strengths that shaped her whole life. It was very inspiring to me. I did have two issues with the writing that I believe decreased the quality of the prose and the book in general.

1. The biggest issue I have with My Life in France is regarding the pacing of the book. The first two thirds of the book were about her life in France. The book should have ended there. Yes, they did spend some months, every few years, in France once they moved back to the United States, but I wouldn't really call that her life in France. Actually, because of the very small time Julia and Paul spent in France after they moved back to the U.S., the book changed from "My Life in France" into "My Life Selling My French Cooking (with some time spent in France)." One of the unfortunate results of this, is that the beauty of living in a different country is lost, along with any sense of time. The first two thirds of the book are like a slow and lesiurely stroll down a dappled, tree-covered, French avenue. The last third feels like a rollercoaster ride through a dark tunnel with a window looking out onto the tree-covered avenue flashing by every few seconds. In my opinion, the book should have been split in two: My Life in France and My Life after France. Both would have been stronger books for the split.

2. The other issue I had with the book was one based upon my own ignorance. The authors were very inconsistent at providing a translation for the abundant French phrases and sentences included in the book. Some I could figure out, but not all. I would have enjoyed having a footnote at the bottom of the page to consult when my own meager French was inadequate to the task. It would have made the book more understandable and enjoyable.
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