I have a confession. Sometimes I get really fangirly about something or someone and I read everything that I can find on that thing or person. I watch every movie; I read every book or magazine. I watch every YouTube video. Being a fan is a way of life for me. And this year I got all fangirly about Julia Child. She has become a hero of mine. She is now someone I look up to, someone I understand, someone with whom I relate. If you are curious about Julia Child, here are some of the best offerings Provo Library has on this big, loud, lovely woman.
MY LIFE IN FRANCE
By Julia Child
This memoir was begun just months before Julia’s death and describes her and Paul’s years in Paris, Marseille, and Provence. But it is also about her journey from a young woman from Pasadena who cannot cook or speak any French to the publication of her legendary Mastering cookbooks and her winning the hearts of America as "The French Chef."
This is an upbeat, funny, and richly detailed memoir about Julia’s blossoming at age 40. Working for the government and meeting Paul Child changed her life forever. Their love story and their love affair with France is heartwarming and swoonworthy, as is all the food.
THE FRENCH CHEF IN AMERICA: JULIA CHILD’S SECOND ACT
By Alex Prud’homme
This is basically part two of My Life in France. Nephew Alex Prud'homme recounts Julia Child's life during the late sixties to the early eighties when, after the success of her book MASTERING THE ART OF FRENCH COOKING brought her fame, she struggled to re-find herself and create her legacy in America. This book focuses specifically on Julia’s work in America. It discusses her groundbreaking television program, the many cookbooks she wrote, and her documentaries.
By this point in Julia's life, Paul had become confused and surly. He never really recovered from a surgery he had. Though Paul was prickly with other people, he was Julia’s partner in everything. It’s amazing to see how Julia juggled her career and her marriage. The biography reads like a narrative and was so hard to put down.
DEARIE: THE REMARKABLE LIFE OF JULIA CHILD
By Bob Spitz
This is a delightful biography of a delightful woman. It gives comprehensive coverage of Julia’s entire life, not just her time in France. It particularly focuses the complex and passionate relationship between Julia and Paul. This relationship was the catalyst for Julia’s blossoming into a confident, competent, and creative chef and TV personality. It also discusses how Julia found her own voice and beliefs after being sequestered in the heart of California amongst her family and friends. The book was such a great read. The new information and excerpts from letters really made Julia and Paul real.
AS ALWAYS JULIA: THE LETTERS OF JULIA CHILD AND AVIS DEVOTO
Edited by Joan Reardon
Julia Child is famous for her cooking, her size, and her voice. But one lesser known thing about Julia Child is that she was a prolific letter writer. One of her favorite correspondents was her dear friend Avis DeVoto. Some may have heard about Avis from her brief mention in the movie JULIE AND JULIA, but as is often the case, the movie doesn't do her justice at all. Avis DeVoto was a writer and a chef in her own right. She was an inspirational and a driving force behind both volumes of Julia's MASTERING THE ART OF FRENCH COOKING. The letters between these two friends over the space of a lifetime are revealing of their humor, their intelligence, and their spunk.
I loved reading about Julia this year. She has always been like a giant good fairy in my life. She blossomed at age 40, finding the love of her life and her true calling. She learned what she really believed, even though it wasn't what her family raised her to believe. She loved her country passionately, but also loved the world outside of it. These books are full of life, and love, and FOOD.