My Life in France (by Julia Child: Nonfiction) 2006

Summary: Arriving in France in 1948 with her husband, who worked for the USIS, Julia Child fell in love with French culture and food. This tall, outspoken woman from Pasadena would find her perspective on the world, and her future, utterly changed by her time living in France.

Review: Okay, so this is an example of a title that has become very common in recent years: an American travels abroad (preferrably Italy or France) and finds better living through foreign culture (particularly food). And, this book does not really do it as well as most of the other recent titles that fit that description. Julia relayed her story to her grand-nephew (Alex Prud’homme), who also had access to copious family letters: and the book reads like it’s origins. The narrative meanders, tripping over many a good dinner and scenic trip, without every really generating much momentum or punch. The main draw here is that the narrator is cultural icon Julia Child, who made her cultural exodus back in the 50’s before it was chic. Her personality shines through in these anecdotes, but won’t be enough to pull every reader through to the end of the book.

Read-a-likes: For readers interested in similar themes as those in My Life in France, I would recommend Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes, A Good Year by Peter Mayle and Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. All three are variations on the standard theme (American abroad, etc.) but provide a tighter story. Reader’s interested in finding out more about Julia Child can try Julie and Julia by Julie Powell or Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom by Julia Child.

Availability: The Lake Bluff Public Library owns this item as a book, an eBook and an eAudiobook. Click here to check on availability.

Review by Eric.

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