More like 3.5, but since that isn’t an option, let’s go with three. This is a lovely little book; I just had a challenging time really getting into it. It has everything I love: food, France, humor, even liberal political leanings, Surprisingly though, I had to force myself to finish it, but I am definitely happy that I did.
I believe this book served as the basis for the “Julia” part of the film “Julie and Julia,” where a blogger takes on the recipes of Mastering the Art of French Cooking while we learn what life in France was like for Ms. Julia Child. I think it’s universally agreed that everyone liked the parts of the film that focused on Ms. Child (played by Meryl Streep) and would have preferred a film just focused on that. I agree, and think the book is so rich with description that there is plenty for multiple films.
The book isn’t just limited to Ms. Child’s life in France with her husband Paul Child (who was a cultural ambassador in the Foreign Service); it instead feels more like a memoir focused on the last fifty-plus years of her life (she died just a couple of days before her 92nd birthday). But much of that was spent living in France (also Germany, Norway and Boston). She shares about her time at Le Cordon Bleu, as well as the process behind creating Mastering the Art of French Cooking (Volume I and Volume II).
The language is vivid, although the book feels a bit slow. However, perhaps that is appropriate. Proper French cooking takes time, and isn’t something one can just dash off quickly; maybe Alex Prud’homme (who assisted his great Aunt in writing this book) recognized this and felt that there was no need to rush the story. If you like France, or food, or have fond memories of Ms. Child’s cooking show, I think this is a sweet book to check out.