From the moment the ship docked in Le Havre in the fall of 1948 and Julia watched the well-muscled stevedores unloading the cargo to the first perfectly soigne meal that she and her husband, Paul, savored in Rouen en route to Paris, where he was to work for the USIS, Julia had an awakening that changed her life. Soon this tall, outspoken gal from Pasadena, California, who didn't speak a word of French and knew nothing about the country, was steeped in the language, chatting with purveyors in the local markets, and enrolled in the Cordon Bleu.
After managing to get her degree despite the machinations of the disagreeable directrice of the school, Julia started teaching cooking classes herself, then teamed up with two fellow gourmettes, Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle, to help them with a book they were trying to write on French cooking for Americans. Throwing herself heart and soul into making it a unique and thorough teaching book, only to suffer several rounds of painful rejection, is part of the behind-the-scenes drama that Julia reveals with her inimitable gusto and disarming honesty.
This memoir is laced with wonderful stories about the French character, particularly in the world of food, and the way of life that Julia embraced so wholeheartedly. Above all, she reveals the kind of spirit and determination, the sheer love of cooking, and the drive to share that with her fellow Americans that made her the extraordinary success she became.
Le voici. Et bon appetit!
©2006 Alex Prud'Homme; (P)2006 Books on Tape
"This is a valuable record of gorgeous meals in bygone Parisian restaurants, and the secret arts of a culinary genius." (Publishers Weekly)
...as mentioned in other reviews, and I almost feel sorry for the narrator, she is not a French speaker, but tries. I cringed most at ca y'est pronounced as "ca y'esT". Yikes. It's still worth it, though. And other than the French, she's actually quite pleasant. The story is second to none if you love Julia Child. I'm grateful she lived long enough to finish the project. It's a gem.
Disappointing that the narrator can't quite transmit the essence of Julia's words. Her French is lacking, which distracts from the story.
Otherwise, a recommended book for any fans of Julia.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. As a francophile, accompanying Julia as she falls in love with France and the French (even with all of the idiosyncrasies) is a delightful ride. My only regret about this audiobook is the narrator's proficiency in French. Julia uses French words throughout the book--adding quite a bit of flavor to her writing (no pun intended)--but the narrator gets the pronunciation wrong maybe 10 percent of the time, and not-so-great maybe 60 percent of the time. Kind of unimpressive considering the context. But I'd definitely recommend this book.
Avid reader of classics and fiction, history and well-written genre novels. Music lover and huge audiobook fan.
I enjoyed every minute of this well narrated and well written book. It is the basis for the part of the movie Julie/Julia that is based on Julia Child's life and it describes both her love of cooking and the delights of living in France...also the delights of EATING in France. A great recommendation for fans of France or of Julia Child."
This book is a wonderful connection to a fascinating woman and her very exciting, rich life. I learned to cook with Volume 1 and now I feel like I am learning about a friend.
I heartily encourage others to 'read' it.
I agree with those who criticize the narration: while it would be difficult to capture Julia's iconic voice, it absolutely does matter how words are pronounced. I am constantly jarred out of the story by words in French (and even English!) that are mispronounced.
I believe someone who is paid to read aloud should spend some time researching how words are pronounced before beginning the task.
Snobbish? I don't think so. Just asking for competence.
It is not unreasonable to expect that this iconic wonderful woman's book about her life in France should be read with correct French pronounciation. I found the reader's butchering of 'Les Halles' and 'Hermes,' among many others, so distracting, it colored my enjoyment. I still give this five stars, but I think this book would be more enjoyed when read the old fashioned way.
While it was Saturday Night "spoofable" Julia Childs distinctive voice was almost iconic. The narrator for her biography however is stilted and almost shrill. I have tried several times to finish this book and just cannot handle her voice. Too bad. Not a bad accounting of Julia's life.
The only downside to this audiobook is the narrator. Couldn't they find someone who actually spoke French to read the book? Julia Child deserved as much! If you speak French, the narration may drive you crazy. For example, "Louisette" sounded like "Louis VII" and "beurre blanc" became "beurre blanK." Howevever, if you can ignore it, it's a wonderful listen. I learned a great deal about the master and her love for good food, friends, and post-war France.
This narrator is a perfectly fine storyteller...in English. But she mangles the French language so badly [and there's SO MUCH FRENCH in this book] that it's painful to listen to. I cringe every time she turns a beautiful French place name or food into a sound resembling a cat being strangled.
I have endured several hours of this and am enjoying the story, but may have to abandon it and read it in the paper version instead. It's just too painful.
If you love cooking and the romance of living in France, read this book. If you love cooking, the romance of living in France and are a Republican, be prepared for what seems like frequent bashing. Nary is an opportunity missed to denigrate The Right. Julia also had daddy issues that are addressed a bit too much. BUT, despite my political leaning, I absolutely loved "My Life in France" The descriptions of the Child's homes, meals, friends, family, even pets blended perfectly to transform the reader to France in the 40's and 50's as The Childs experienced it. Details of how "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" evolved were fascinating. This autobiography was well-paced, never boring. Julia's life is an inspiration to all those over 40 who have yet to attain personal goals. I would highly recommend "my Life in France" to all.
This has been on my to-read list for a while, and I'm so glad I picked it up. The narrator is wonderful, and just about every chapter made me hungry. It's one of the few novels I actually might leave on my phone, even though I've completed it. I keep getting the urge to re-listen to bits of it when I'm puttering around my kitchen and attempting to make something half as fantastic as Julia Child's dishes. It's one of those books I got completely absorbed in, which is rare for me with nonfiction. It's funny and sweet and made me want to book a holiday to France as soon as possible.
Oh, and a word of advice: if you're using Audible for Android, make sure you download the book as two parts. For some reason the download failed when I tried to download it as one part, and the customer service rep I spoke to had the same issue when trying to replicate the problem. I almost had to have it refunded since I couldn't get it onto my phone. The two-part download worked fine, though, so I was happy in the end.
Wonderful story of the making of a culinary classic and masterpiece. Ordered a copy of both of Julia Child's books as soon as I'd finished this.
Beautifully narrated by Kimberley Farr - but oh the DREADFUL pronunciation of many French words and place names! Why do narrators not check with someone who speaks the language before they embark on reading? Ms Farr is far from the only culprit in this.
"Sent Me Back To My Cook Book!"
This book focuses on Julia Child's life from the time that she moved to Paris with her husband; the rest of her life (childhood, and to an extent, life in old age) is dealt with in efficient and brief summaries which is good because this leaves us with the most interesting bits: what drove her to become obsessively interested in French cooking, and the journey that took her on.
Clearly, Julia always led a fairly charmed and comfortable life. She had the leisure and money to explore what began as a hobby and became an all-encompassing passion. I very much enjoyed the matter-of-fact approach (it was really written by her relation, Alex Prud'Homme) because I think that reflects what comes across of her character. She is conveyed as an amusing woman, clever, driven, very out-going - but rather cold in some ways and not always 'kind' about people.
The narration was just about alright and I think the performance captured Julia's character - rather braying and clipped; but some of the pronunciation was odd, for example culinary is always pronounced queue-linary and it started to get on my nerves.
What the listen did do, was send me back to my Julia Child book and explore some more of its incredibly varied and detailed contents.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.