Several months ago I read Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen (2005) and I also blogged about the book. I was less than impressed by the book – mostly because I felt that the author, Julie Powell, was disrespectful to Julia Child and most of the time the language was unnecessarily vulgar.
When the film Julie & Julia (2009) came out with Meryl Streep as Julia Child and Amy Adams as Julie Powell, I had to go see it because of Streep. It is a charming movie! Both Streep and Adams are wonderful, as is Stanley Tucci as Paul Child. Streep was so good she was nominated for an Academy Award. The sequences about Julia and Paul Child in France were obviously not in the book Julie and Julia – where did that come from?
Well, it came from My Life in France (2006) by Julia Child and her grand-nephew Alex Prud’homme. This memoir is much more than Julia’s living in France for several years, it is about how she became the famous French cook, her life as a wife of someone in the diplomatic core, writing her famous cookbooks, and becoming one of the forerunners of home and food shows on television. It has tidbits of her early life as well. She was a basketball star at Smith College in the early 1930’s and she worked for “intelligence” during WWII!
Child and her grand-nephew put together this special book using years of saved correspondence and her special remembrances. The story begins to unfold when she and Paul move to Paris in 1948, she tells the story that you expect and saw in the film, but it is also interspersed with comments about post-Nazi Germany, McCarthyism, Kennedy vs. Nixon, etc. There are social and political side stories throughout; and, it is also a love story. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it.