I've mentioned the reason that I picked up Julia Child's My Life in France several times. One reason was because I had read that it was an additional source for the movie Julie and Julia, which I knew I wanted to see (I've posted my full review of the movie in the Books on Screen column at 5 Minutes for Books today).
Not long at all after beginning this lovely memoir of sorts, I was captivated. I was captivated by Julia Child's complete joy, as the French say, her joie de vivre. That kind of excitement about life is contagious.
This book chronicles her late-start in her life-changing love of food -- life-changing not only to her, but to others all these years later who have caught her vision -- when she and her husband moved to France (she also got a late-start on marriage).
But My Life in France is really a love story -- a love story between Julia Child and France and its food, but overall the love between her and her supportive husband, Paul gives the story warmth.
Before reading this book and seeing the movie, I didn't know anything more about Julia Child than the iconic bits about her that show up in comedy and pop culture. However, after reading this delightful book (and watching the excellent movie), I'm intrigued. She was really a pioneer in the cooking world -- becoming a cooking personality years before there were such people.
I do not consider myself a cook. I like to cook, and I am a serviceable cook, but I barely eat French food, much less cook it. However, I think I may give it a go. There are many full-length episodes of PBS' The French Chef available to watch online. After reading about how much of Julia's time and energy and heart went into writing the book, I've reserved Mastering the Art of French Cooking from the library, and I believe I'm going to try her famous beurre blanc on some fish tonight.
If you like travelogues, you'll enjoy this story of Julia Child's immersion and complete infactuation with France, its food, and its people. If you want to feel inspired, or just to smile at someone's can-do spirit and success, I can also recommend it.
Read it with a stick of butter nearby. And read my review, and then go see the movie as soon as you possibly can.