September 2, 2009

My Life in France, by Julia Child

Many of you who read my blog know I love to cook. It's a great passion of mine. I read cookbooks for fun. That sort of thing.

Recently, after seeing the new "Julie & Julia" movie I was curious to read Julia Child's autobiography My Life in France. Since we were soon leaving for a trip to Denmark, I thought this would be a perfect book to take on the plane. I have always liked Julia Child as a chef, so I was hoping to learn more about how she got started and things of that nature.

And so, three weeks later, I have found myself only half way through the book. I simply can't finish it. It is an interesting read when she is talking about her life in France, and her adventures in learning to cook French cuisine, exploring the French towns and countryside, that sort of thing. For me it was very interesting to read about France post-WW2 from an "American" point of view.

But when she is talking about things, such as her political viewpoints, she comes across as downright snobby and self-centered. She makes it very clear that she has absolutely no use for people who do not share her exact political viewpoints or undying love of everything French. And especially her obsession with food.

I daresay that if we were to have met in person, she would not have wanted to be my friend. I doubt if she would even talk to me, she would have probably dismissed me as unintelligent.

Overall, I just really got tired of reading about two things...her disdain for anything not French (if it wasn't French, it was sub-standard, and people were unintelligent if they didn't love French culture as much as she did), and for her disdain of anyone who did not think the way she did. This included her father. Her thoughts and feelings about her father were just really uncalled for and made me uncomfortable reading them. She felt far superior to him, because she was liberal-minded and lived a sophisticated life in France; whereas he was a Republican living in California who did not have much use for French culture. She belittled him every chance she got.

It's hard for me to reconcile the Julia Child we know from her cookbook and TV show to the woman in the pages of this book to the Meryl Streep version in Julie & Julia. They seem to be three completely different women. The cookbook and movie Julia is charming and endearing. The biography Julia is a haughty and snobby woman. Which one is the true Julia?

So all I can say is, if you ever had an inkling to read this book, be prepared. Otherwise, just stick to her cookbook. You'll like that Julia Child much better. I give this book 3 stars because it does have some interesting parts.


  1. How depressing! After I saw "Julie and Julia" I got both books it was based on. Now I'm hearing bad things about both. I did get that Julia might be snobby by the way she reacted to Julie Powell's blog.

  2. I was curious to read the "Julie and Julia" book, too, but have heard bad things about it. Seems that Julie Powell isn't that nice of a person, either.

    After reading as much as I did from her autobiography, I now understand why Julia Child didn't like Julie Powell's blog. Now that scene makes sense. But I can also understand why they didn't go into why Julia didn't like it...they wanted to keep Meryl Streep's version of Julia Child sweet and endearing.


Thanks for joining our discussion of this book!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...