Thursday, December 23, 2010

Week 49: My Life in France by Julia Child with Alex Prud'homme

I adored this book. I absolutely fell in love with it from the first page. I fell asleep with it in my hands, and got mad when I woke up and realized I lost my place.

I have always been fascinated with the life of this American (and later very French) icon who charmed her contemporaries with her love of French food, language, education, and friends. But to read her story firsthand was to really know the passion and determination with which she lived her life. She was brave and bold and frequently embarrassed, but followed her heart and waited for everything else to catch up.

The beauty of this book was staggering. Julia's descriptions of landscapes, scenarios, tastes and smells were so vibrant that it was easy for me to wish myself to Paris or Marseilles to experience them for myself. In the foreward, the co-author Alex Prud'homme notes that many of the carefully documented details were found in letters from Julia's husband, Paul. A photographer and artist (on top of his regular job as an American/French diplomatic liaison), Paul made it his duty to record their lives in his writing and in his photography. He was passionate about food and wine, and filled in for Julia whenever he needed her. He was responsible for a lot of the artwork in "Mastering the Art of French Cooking", Julia's ten-year "cookery-bookery" project with Simone "Simca" Beck and the first cookbook of its kind ever published. My point is, it was a pleasure getting to know the details of Paul's life as well as Julia's. I've always wanted to know more about him.

As I read the last page, I was sorry to leave Julia and Paul and their lovely, interesting lives. I didn't want it to end. This one is becoming part of my permanent collection.

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