As you may have noticed, I mostly write about books in a positive way.
Well, I guess that is because I really don't see the point in writing about a book that I didn't enjoy reading.
My Life in France by Julia Child, with Alex Prud'homme is a book that makes me want to move back to France. There are so many things I recognize, remember, miss, even if I lived there in the 90's and not in the 50's like the author did.
A year ago I read Julie & Julia by Julie Powell. I lived in Seattle then, and I was just hanging out in my favorite Barnes & Noble when my eyes fell on that cover. Until that moment I had never heard about the phenomenon Julia Child. Since I'm not American, but Norwegian, I didn't know about her famous cookbook "Mastering the Art of French Cooking", and I didn't know she used to be a famous TV cook in the US.
I loved Julie Powell's book, the whole concept was fascinating to me. (Cooking all the recipies in Julia Child's book during a year, and blogging about it. The book is written after the project was over.) Julia Child isn't more than a faint backround character in that book, and because of that, I thought it was strange that the movie Julie & Julia (which I haven't seen yet) apparently focuses a lot more on her than on Julie Powell and her challenge.
Then I got "My Life in France" for Christmas, and now that I've read it, I totally understand the filmmakers. Her story is just really important to fully understand what Julie Powell was doing. I'll have to read Julie & Julia again, and I'll definitively watch the movie.
"My Life in France" follows Paul and Julia Child, newlyweds in the late 1940's, as they are settling in Paris. Paul is working for the US government, and Julia, who has never been in France before, is just "tagging along". However, she falls in love with this country, it's people, way of living, and... it's cuisine. She takes cooking classes, and there is no way back for her. She has found her life's calling.
For me this was an instructive book. I learned about this person, how she became "the" Julia Child for generations of Americans. I love to learn, so this part of it was very fulfilling, but I guess the best part for me still was the diving into the French world, and especially the part where they arrive in France and settle in their Paris appartment. It reminded me so much of my early days in France, when we came driving down from the North, saw Paris from a distance, found our way through busy streets, and finally arriving in front of our new home, the tiny, old appartment, where we were going to live for the next five years.
I wish she was still alive. It would have been so interesting to talk to her about things we have in common: La France, living in Paris, how it feels to be twice the size of most French women...