Review: Julia Child Rules: Lessons on Savoring Life by Karen Karbo

karbo juliaJulia Child Rules: Lessons on Savoring Life

Karen Karbo

240 pages

October 2013 by Skirt!

Source: Publisher

In the summer of 1946, Julia McWilliams and Paul Child drove across America. A bottle of vodka and a thermos of mixed martinis rolled around the backseat of Julia’s Buick. It was a time before air-conditioned vehicles and open-container laws. . .

Though she’s known around the world for her cookbooks and TV shows, Julia Child wasn’t just a world-class chef. Coming from a well-to-do family in Pasadena, CA, she could have settled for her only suitor and lived a life of obscurity. Instead she worked for the United States government during WWII, traveled to India on a whim, and met the love of her life, Paul Child. Did I mention that Julia didn’t find her passion of cooking until she was 37? 37! There’s hope for me yet.

With Julia Child Rules: Lessons on Savoring Life, author Karen Karbo doesn’t just focus on Child and her cooking. She brilliantly illustrates to readers what has made Child such a fascinating person even years after her death. This is where the rules come in. Each chapter starts with a rule; some important lesson gleamed from Child’s life. One of my favorite rules of the book is the very first one: live with abandon. According to Karbo,

Part of living with abandon is giving oneself over to one’s circumstances without any expectation that things are going to be to our liking anytime soon. We can hope that things will improve, but it shouldn’t prevent us from doing what we’ve set out to do. Julia had an astonishing capacity to be content with what was in front of her, whether it be a cooking school run on spit and a string or a less than perfect hunk of meat. She made do and moved on and rarely regretted it.

From reading that passage, you can tell that this isn’t your average biography. Karbo gives us the essential Child instead of every single detail about Child’s life. Along with details of Karbo’s own life, readers get a biography with a personal touch. It’s one that feels more like a great conversation with an old friend about a wonderful woman.

Julia Child Rules: Lessons on Savoring Life is a wonderful addition to Karen Karbo’s Kick Ass Women series. It follows biographies about Katharine Hepburn, Coco Chanel, and Georgia O’Keefe. It’s also the rare biography that foodies and non-foodies alike will love. My rating: 5 out of 5 stars.


About Vasilly

Mother, daughter, sister, college student, bookworm, lover of chocolate and coffee.
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16 Responses to Review: Julia Child Rules: Lessons on Savoring Life by Karen Karbo

  1. debbierodgers says:

    I never tire of reading about Julia Childs. I shall have to seek out this book. Thanks for the recommendation, Vasilly!

  2. Sounds lovely! I really want to know more about Julia Child… it’s a shame I haven’t even tried one of her recipes before!

  3. bookworm says:

    This does sound fantastic. And wow Julia Childs on finding her niche at 37. I love that quote about living with abandon. Great review!

  4. heidenkind says:

    There’s hope for all of us. 🙂 I wasn’t interested in this book until I read your review. I’ll have to look for it at the library.

  5. I love that rule too! I think living like that is part of what made her such a fascinating person – she embraced the unexpected!

  6. Marg says:

    I know Julia Childs’ name but not much more than that. This sounds like a very interesting exploration of her life!

  7. I never cared for her but my daughter-in-law has recently discovered her and loves her.

  8. Carole says:

    This one’s on order at the library!

  9. Beth F says:

    I have always admired Julia. Every single thing I have ever read about her over the decades has been positive. That alone says a lot.

  10. every review I have read about this book has said it is a great book and your review is no exception.

  11. joyweesemoll says:

    Terrific review! I love that Julia Child came into her own so late in life. Living with abandon seems like a useful talent, especially for late bloomers!

  12. Tea Norman says:

    I really would like to read this book. I suppose some of her good habits can be traced back to WWII. I like the words “live with abandon” too.

  13. My library still hasn’t purchased a copy of this book… may have to just buy one for myself!

  14. Heather says:

    the essential Child, now that is an appealing thought since I wouldn’t want to read about every meal she cooked. This does sound like a good read.

  15. bybeebooks says:

    I loved her memoir and will gladly read or watch anything about this remarkable woman. Big, warm, generous spirit.

  16. I adore Julia Child. Wish I’d known her. I think she would make a wonderful friend.

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