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Julia Child’s My Life in France

Last week I spent an intense four-and-a-half days in Seattle at a Public Library Association Strategic Planning “Boot Camp.” More on that later–for now I’ll tell about the reading that I took along for my flights there and back, “My Life in France” by Julia Child.

I haven’t seen the movie, “Julie and Julia” yet, but I have read “Julie and Julia,” by Julie Powell which I enjoyed immensely last year. I was primed for reading “My Life in France.”

My plane was late leaving Lincoln by at least three hours, and it helped that “My Life in France” was an excellent companion. I’d describe its style as conversational. Child recalls her impressions of France, of food, and of people, so well. It’s hard to believe that when she moved to France with her husband in 1948, she didn’t speak the language, and she knew almost nothing about cooking. She tells how she came to be in love with France. I’m still impressed with the way that she chose to embrace the culture, to get out there and interact with people even though communication was a struggle. She describes her first meal with her husband in France, and how it opened her eyes to a whole new way of thinking about food.

I became so intrigued with that part of her journey that it seemed almost jarring when they were once again living in the United States in the 1960s and she was becoming famous for her first book, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” and her cooking shows on educational television.

This book reads quickly. I was sorry to come to its end.

I would expect that other lovers of memoir would enjoy it, as would various Francophiles, cooks, and world travelers.

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