The French chef in America Julia Child's second act

Alex Prud'homme

Book - 2016

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BIOGRAPHY/Child, Julia
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New York : Alfred A. Knopf 2016.
First edition
Physical Description
318 pages ; 25 cm
Includes bibliographical references (pages 303-304) and index.
Main Author
Alex Prud'homme (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

In this sequel to My Life in France (2006), Prud'homme deftly chronicles the years after Julia Child left France and settled in Cambridge, Massachusetts—focusing mainly on what he calls her second act, from the late 1960s through the late 1980s. Child's popularity in the U.S. exploded after the 1961 publication of Mastering the Art of French Cooking and propelled her into the culinary limelight. As Child's grandnephew, Prud'homme is able to provide an intimate portrait of Child's life by sharing photographs, excerpts of letters and daily journals, and personal memories. He dishes up the story of Child's life from the strain of the medical issues she and her husband experienced to the pressures and excitement of becoming a trendsetter in televised cooking shows and a household name—in a manner as engaging as Julia Child herself and as delicious as one of her recipes. Copyright 2016 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Prud'homme, Julia Child's great-nephew and the coauthor of her autobiography, My Life in France, here focuses on Child as TV personality and reverently regarded cookbook author, showing how she shaped the way Americans eat while creating a whole new type of television food show. [Page 54]. (c) Copyright 2016 Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

The great-nephew of American chef Julia Child (1912–2004) and coauthor of her memoir, My Life in France, Prud'homme picks up with Child's life where her memoir left off, after the publication of her seminal 1961 work, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Looking to create the next chapter in her career, Child began her foray into TV, which led to a number of different shows over the years. Child also undertook a second volume of French Cooking with friend Simone Beck. The lengthy process strained their relationship and eventually ended their collaboration. Constantly branching out in new directions, Child wrote many cookbooks, partnered with several famous chefs, hosted a segment on Good Morning America, and wrote for McCall's magazine. Throughout her career, Child's husband, Paul, worked with her on all of her projects and played a tremendous role in her achievements. Prud'homme's use of letters, interviews, and in-depth research deftly captures Julia's passionate personality and the evolution of her career and place in popular culture. VERDICT This will be a welcome addition for Child fans. [See Prepub Alert, 4/25/16.]—Melissa Stoeger, Deerfield P.L., IL [Page 115]. (c) Copyright 2016 Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by PW Annex Reviews

In in this biography, legendary chef Child's great-nephew, author Prud'homme, delights with behind-the-scenes details of Child's later life in the U.S. after years in France. Through extensive conversations with many who worked with Child and those she's inspired, including Emeril Lagasse and Sara Moulton, Prud'homme explores her adopted country; her work in television; her management of publishing deadlines; and her collaborations with longtime friends, including Simone Beck, James Beard, and Jacques Pepin. With Prud'homme's gentle hand, readers see the truth of Child behind her playful persona. Prud'homme also sheds a light on Child's passion for women's rights and public television. She turned down countless offers from big companies who wanted her to sell their popular products; she was a purist in many ways. This is a warm, nuanced celebration of "Our Lady of the Ladle." (Oct.) Copyright 2016 Publisher Weekly Annex.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

The great-nephew of Julia Child presents a follow-up to My Life in France to trace the story of her years as a beloved TV personality and cookbook author, revealing the pressures she faced as an influential celebrity in the aftermath of publishing Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Traces the story of the chef's years as a beloved television personality and cookbook author, revealing the pressures she faced as an influential celebrity in the aftermath of publishing "Mastering the Art of French Cooking."

Review by Publisher Summary 3

The enchanting story of Julia Child's years as TV personality and beloved cookbook author--a sequel in spirit to My Life in France--by her great-nephew Julia Child is synonymous with French cooking, but her legacy runs much deeper. Now, her great-nephew and My Life in France coauthor vividly recounts the myriad ways in which she profoundly shaped how we eat today. He shows us Child in the aftermath of the publication of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, suddenly finding herself America's first lady of French food and under considerable pressure to embrace her new mantle. We see her dealing with difficult colleagues and the challenges of fame, ultimately using her newfound celebrity to create what would become a totally new type of food television. Every bit as entertaining, inspiring, and delectable as My Life in France, The French Chef in America uncovers Julia Child beyond her "French chef" persona and reveals her second act to have been as groundbreaking and adventurous as her first.