I picked up a copy of My Life in France, the one with the smiling Meryl Streep on the cover, and brought it home a few weeks ago.
When I picked it up and began to read, I was mezmerized. Julia Child was so passionate about life that her story captured my attention and would not let go. Midway through my reading of the book, my wife picked it up and found it hard to put down. We would compete in the evenings to see who could get to it first.
Her love of France. Her love of cooking. Her love of husband, Paul. All the passion poured into her relationship with her friend and fellow cook Simca and the lengths that go into testing, perfecting, writing and presenting their approach to preparing French food in the US.
I find it fascinating that the book was partially birthed from the letters that Paul wrote his twin brother describing his life in France with Julia. And how the nephew Alex Prud’homme worked with Julia in her final years to record this, publishing it not long after her death.
My wife and I took our children to Paris in 2004 in our belief that travel is crucial to a better understanding of ourselves and our world. I share the passion that Julia had for France, though my family was busier exploring art and history than food in our short visit.
I would like to have a chance to edit the book. After 328 pages describing the joy that went into each day, the last five pages that describe a series of deaths and the leaving of France end the book so coldly.
Still, this is a book that captures the oversized personality of Julia Child and takes you along as she experiences the life that brought us Mastering the Art of French Cooking and The French Chef. You don’t have to like cooking or France to enjoy spending time with Julia.
Given the choice of an investment between this book and the movie, I would strongly recommend buying and reading the book.