Inspired by the release of a big buzz movie based on this book and Julie Powell's Julie
and Julia (also reviewed
on Myshelf), I finally got around to reading Julia Child's memoir, written with her husband's
grandnephew, titled My Life in France. After just a few pages I was already wailing to myself
"why on earth did I wait so long to read this?!!"
It seems as if it should be a given that reading someone's memoir would feel like having a
conversation with them, spending time in their company as they reminisce. After all, that's the
difference between a memoir and a biography—that it's a personal thing; their story in
their own words. But too often memoirs are more about keeping the readers at arm's length and
carefully crafting an image intended to hide rather than reveal the true person.
That's not the case here. For anyone who has ever met her or seen her on TV, this memoir is
pure Julia. Her inimitable voice, exuberant energy, passion and infectious laughter echo out
from every page, whether rhapsodizing about her first meal in France, laughing at her own frequent
mistakes, recounting the amazing range of frustrations at Le Cordon Bleu, or giving her diplomat
husband Paul a professional due she felt his employers never did.
From the epiphany of her first French meal through her love affair with Paris markets and the
people who worked in them, to the frustrations and triumphs of learning to cook, then writing about
it, Julia found her soul's home in France. It's where she learned to experience in the deepest sense,
living to the fullest rather than just living. My Life in France tells how that happened,
with gusto, charm and a deep, deep affection.