Book Review: My Life in France by Julia Child (DNF)

My Life in France by Julia Child

This book has become popular after the recent movie, Julie & Julia, which I didn’t see. I had no idea what the movie was about, but if I’d known it was about a cook, I’d definitely have gone and watch it!

The book was a bit longwinded, and I didn’t finish it. I got to about half-way.

My Life in France: What it is about

Julia Child was a famous tv cook in the US. This book is her memoir, written by her and her grandnephew Alex Prud’homme.

It relates her time in France, just after the second world war, when her husband was stationed there as a US cultural diplomat. Julia couldn’t cook at all, but after she enjoyed many good meals in French restaurants, she wanted to try for herself. After a lot of practice at home she decided to enrol at the famous Cordon Blue cooking school where she was taught by professional chefs.

Later, she wrote a cook book together with two of her friends in France and she gave cooking lessons.

My Life in France: What I thought

Not being American, and not tuned in to American tv, I had only vaguely heard of this author/cook and then probably only because of the movie about the book.

So, I had no preconceptions about the author or her work.

The story of her and her husband arriving in France and setting up home there was initially quite interesting. However, she describes in too much detail for my liking what restaurants she goes to and what she eats there. As a vegetarian, most of these dishes didn’t appeal to me so I couldn’t share her appreciation for these apparently wonderful foods.

Now, I am a fan of Masterchef (UK) so being a vegetarian can’t be blamed for everything here. I think it was also the amount of food information that I was given as well as the not-so interesting life that Julia was living, that made me decide to stop reading about half-way through.

Most people’s memoirs would be quite boring to read, I’m sure. I know mine would! Julia Child may have been a famous cook but the only two things that were special about her (as far as I can make out) is that she, an US woman, lived in France for a while and that she, the famous cook, didn’t know how to cook when she first was married.

That is interesting for a short while, but not for 400 pages. I did not hate the book at all, but it was all a bit bland, and 200 pages was enough for me. Maybe I would have found it more interesting if I’d known more about the author.

Rating: 3/5 (DNF)

I got this book: from a book swap last month

I read this in: English, the original language

Number of pages: 414 (I stopped at page 209)

First published: 2006

Genre: memoir, cooking

About Leeswammes
I'm owner and editor at In my free time, I read and review books on my two blogs, Leeswammes' Blog and De Boekblogger.

22 Responses to Book Review: My Life in France by Julia Child (DNF)

  1. Tes says:

    I really wanna read this book, but I couldn’t find the copy just yet 🙂 Julie and Julia movie was amazing, you should try it 🙂

  2. Suzanne says:

    I listened to this on audio and really enjoyed it, not so much about the food (I’m a vegetarian as well) but about her attitude of immersing herself into the local culture (esp. of France) rather than living like a stereotypical American expat.
    I’m sorry you didn’t like this one.

    • Leeswammes says:

      I liked it so-so, Suzanne. I found it a bit longwinded and repetitive. Glad you enjoyed it. Well, the immersing in the local culture is what I did myself when I went to England, so to me, it didn’t stand out as anything special. 🙂

  3. cbjames says:

    I have the same reluctance with memoir, most people do not lead interesting enough lives, even people who are interesting. So, I’ve not read this one. I do, however, like M.F.K. Fischer’s memoirs and stories of her life in France, many of which are about food.

  4. Misha says:

    I loved the movie, Julie & Julia. However, this book seems quite boring. I can see why this was a dnf for you.

  5. I was never interested in Julia Child until I read the book and the movie which followed. I do want to read this one now…..she was something!

    • Leeswammes says:

      Good to hear that you enjoyed the movie, Diane. I didn’t know anything about Julia Child when I read the book and found her only semi-interesting.

  6. Oh no! I’m liked Julie and Julia but I’m not all that interested in Julia Childs so I haven’t attempted to read this book. Sorry you didn’t like enough to finish.

    • Leeswammes says:

      Mari, I didn’t really know Julia Child so I didn’t have an interest in the woman per sé (same as you). In that case, 400 pages is a lot.

  7. Cindy says:

    I am totally underwhelmed by Julia Child and the movie was a big letdown too.

  8. I really liked the book, but I have memories of Julia Child coming in to our living room at a very young age. I was constantly hearing her distinctive voice as I read this book. It would be quite a different experience without that!

  9. RFW says:

    Too bad you couldn’t stick with it – the movie inspired me to find out more about my favorite chef.

  10. Pingback: Happy 99th Birthday, Julia Child! | The Rambling Epicure

  11. Natalie says:

    I want to read this book too,but please in Dutch,can it???

    • Leeswammes says:

      Hi Natalie, yes, I think you can get this book in Dutch as well. There is a special edition based on the film (or the film is based on it!).

  12. Pingback: Happy 99th Birthday, Julia Child! - The Rambling Epicure | The Rambling Epicure

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