Books Magazine

Book Review: Julia Child Rules by Karen Karbo

By Joyweesemoll @joyweesemoll

Book: Julia Child Rules: Lessons on Savoring Life by Karen Karbo
Genre: Biography / Memoir / Self-Help
Publisher: Skirt! an imprint of Globe Pequot Press
Publication date: October, 2013
Pages: 240

Source: e-ARC from the publisher

cover of Julia Child Rules by Karen KarboSummary: In the latest of her Kick Ass Women series, Karen Karbo cooks up some “Lessons on Savoring Life” by examining the problems and passions in the biography of Julia Child. Here’s one reason Julia Child’s life is so illuminating for contemporary women:

My theory is that our real attachment to Julia is less about her cooking, or even about what she did for the cause of serious cuisine, and more about our admiration for her immutable aptitude for being herself. Julia’s real genius wasn’t in breaking down the nine million steps in cooking a mind-blowing beef bourguignon, or assembling a thousand-page cookbook, but in having the confidence to stand in front of a camera, week after week, without trying to change one thing about herself. p. 10

Julia Child Rules tells the story of Julia Child’s life in broad strokes within a structure of 10 rules for living. Rule Number 1 is Live with Abandon.

Thoughts: I can’t remember being as excited about the release of a book as I am about Julia Child Rules. Vasilly of 1330v suggested that I read another of the Kick Ass Women series earlier this year: Book Review: How Georgia Became O’Keeffe. I loved the quirky mix of memoir, biography, and self-help. Naturally, I had to read the Coco Chanel book before our trip to France: Book Review: The Gospel According to Coco Chanel by Karen Karbo. The first book in the series was about Katherine Hepburn, How to Hepburn, a book I’m saving to enjoy at Christmas time along with my favorite unsung Christmas movie: Desk Set.

I was never going to be an artist like O’Keeffe, a fashion designer like Coco Chanel, or an actress like the great Kate. Living like Julia, though? Well, I cook dinner pretty much every night.

132688Julia Child wasn’t a big part of my childhood, except as played comically by Dan Aykroyd. My mother was more the Peg Bracken I Hate to Cook Book type with a great fondness for Hamburger Helper. The first Christmas after I was married though, Rick and I bought ourselves The Way to Cook by Julia Child and used it to learn to make everything from chicken soup to pumpkin pie.

My passion for Julia Child as a model for living came just a couple of years ago when I read her autobiography as part of a week-long celebration of all things French around Bastille Day: Book Review: My Life in France by Julia Child.

Julia Child Rules was the book I wanted to read after My Life in France and I’m so glad that Karen Karbo wrote it!

I was thrilled to be invited to participate in the Live Like Julia project to introduce Julia Child Rules. Bloggers chose one of the ten rules to live for a week. I posted my progress most days during the week that I lived Rule Number 6: To Be Happy, Work Hard: 

  • Live Like Julia
  • Weekend Cooking: Veggie Pasta
  • Sunday Salon — August 25
  • It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?
  • Live Like Julia — Tuesday Update
  • When No One Cares But You
  • Live Like Julia — One Week Finished, a Lifetime to Savor

Karen Karbo has been compiling Live Like Julia posts as well as reflecting on the rules in her life on her blog, Karbohemia.

Watch this space! Next week, Karen Karbo will be here for a Question and Answer session.

Appeal: Julia Child Rules will have broad appeal for women and some men. You’ll find echoes in Julia’s life if you love cooking or France or tackling big projects. There will be things to learn if it’s time to Obey Your Whims (Rule Number 4) or Solve the Problem in Front of You (Rule Number 7). If you love a great real-life romance, a wry bit of memoir, or fish-out-of-water tales, Julia Child Rules is for you.

Challenges: With such a broad appeal, it’s no surprise that this book slips right in to my favorite challenges and memes:
new Weekend Cooking logo

I’ll also link this review to Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish Reads on Saturday morning and to Dreaming of France at An Accidental Blog on Monday.

What are your memories and experiences with Julia Child?

Signature of Joy Weese Moll

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