On Our Bookshelves:
My Life in France


BOOK: My Life in France

AUTHOR: Julia Child with Alex Prud’homme



Some years back, one of my neighbors read My Life in France, in preparation for a trip she was taking to Paris. She thought I’d like the book and so lent me her paperback. I liked it so much that after I returned her copy, I bought myself one, in hardcover, and put it on the shelf in my kitchen with my cookbooks, where it remains to this day…although I take it out and read a chapter at a time once in a while, if I’m feeling blue.


This is such a joyous book! Written largely by Julia Child, with assistance from her grand-nephew Alex Prud’homme, and published after her death, it’s a celebration of, yes, the art of French cooking, but just as much as it is about food, it is about life. And her life was an amazing one.


It’s less a straightforward memoir than a meandering account of Julia Child falling in love: with her husband, with Paris, with French cuisine, with cooking, with sharing what she’d learned, with writing an amazingly influential cookbook, and with feeding her friends and family at her home.


It’s hard not to be charmed by her warmth and enthusiasm. It’s hard not to be hungry while reading it. And it’s great inspiration for following your own life path and seizing opportunities to live well. It ends with a recollection of a meal she describes as an epiphany, on her very first day in France:

“In all the years since that succulent meal, I have yet to lose the feelings of wonder and excitement that it inspired in me. I can still almost taste it. And thinking back on it now reminds me that the pleasures of the table, and of life, are infinite—toujours bon appetit!”


My Life in France was adapted into half of the 2009 movie Julie & Julia (the better half, in my opinion, with Meryl Streep in the title role), which is a sweet and enjoyable film. But do read the book as well—it’s something special.

RATING (one to five whistles, with five being the best): 4 Whistles





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Laura LaVelle is an attorney and writer who lives in Connecticut, in a not quite 100-year-old house, along with her husband, two daughters, and a cockatiel.

Laura can be contacted at laura@newswhistle.com


Book Jacket Image Courtesy of Alfred A. Knopf