Synopses & Reviews
Many of us have dog-eared copies of Mastering the Art of French Cooking in our kitchens or fondly remember watching episodes of The French Chef, but what was behind the enormous appeal of this ungainly, unlikely woman, who became a superstar in midlife and changed our approach to food and cooking forever? Julia Child Rules dissects the life of the sunny, unpretentious chef, author, cooking show star, and bon vivant, with an eye towards learning how we, too, can savor life. With her characteristic wit and flair, Karen Karbo takes us for a spin through Julia's life: from her idyllic childhood in California to her confusing young adulthood in New York; her years working for the OSS in Sri Lanka; her world class love affairs with Paris and Paul Child; and her decades as America's beloved French chef. Karbo weaves in her own personal experiences and stops for important life lessons along the way: how to make the world your oyster, live happily married, work hard, and enjoy a life of full immersion. It gives readers a taste of what it means to master the art of living.
“In Julia Child Rules,
Karen Karbo has written that rare bird of a book: one that manages on every page to be as enlightening as it is entertaining, as smart as it is funny. In prose as clean and sharp as your best kitchen knife, Karbo gives us a portrait of the incomparable Julia Child thats intimate, inspiring, and unlike anything Ive ever read about Child before. I want to make wallpaper out of this original and beautiful book just so I can have Karbos unparalleled wit and wisdom always on hand.” —Cheryl Strayed, author of the New York Times
“If you love Julia Child (and who doesnt?), then you will love Karen Karbos smart and entertaining book. Karbos take on Ms. Childs life is like being invited to a lively dinner party where ideas and experiences are related with great verve and wisdom. Read this book and discover why Julia does indeed rule! Bon appétit.” —Whitney Otto, author of the New York Times bestseller How to Make an American Quilt
“Karen Karbo gives us a riveting, zingy new perspective on the indomitable, cheery, lovable, hardworking French Chef. Julia Child Rules cracked me up as it inspired and moved me. It made me want to cook with Julia and Karen in a cramped, under-equipped Paris kitchen, bustling about in aprons, swilling wine and whisking and deglazing, then eating with all the gusto in the world.” —Kate Christensen, author of Blue Plate Special: An Autobiography of My Appetites
"The love affair with the iconic Julia Child continues in Karbos guide to living with abandon, as Child always did, which gives a window into the legendary cook, author, and television hosts fascinating backstory. One of the lessons Karbo draws from Childs life is that one must face adversity rather than being daunted by it. And from the start, Child, a red-haired, freckle-faced girl who grew to 63", experienced a great deal of knocks. But rather than dwell on her awkward appearance, she felt 'free to be herself.' Child tried to join the military during the WWII effort, but was rejected due to a 'physical disqualification.' She eventually got a job with the OSS (a predecessor of the CIA) and was tasked with organizing massive amounts of data; later, this experience helped her craft precise, detailed recipes. More significantly, she met Paul Child--her future husband and #1 cheerleader--while working for the OSS. As Karbo persuasively argues, Paul 'gave her herself. Without him she wouldnt have found her calling at last' at age 38. Karbos joyful take on the ebullient, self-described 'California hayseed' will charm readers new to the twists and turns of Childs life, as well as devoted fans." --Publishers Weekly
“Humorous, balanced mix of biography, autobiography, and self-help guide appeals to cooking fans and non-cooks alike. In Julia Child Rules: Lessons on Savoring Life, Karen Karbo explores what made Julia Child so successful. She parses the aspects of Julias personality, her struggles, and her joy for life that made her the influential icon we all know today. It is also part autobiography of the defining moments in Karbos own life, such as the death of her mother when Karbo was seventeen. The author intersperses the perfect mix of personal anecdotal information, and her fun personality comes through in conversational writing. There are many footnotes, too, where Karbos humor is most evident. But, ultimately, it is a self-help book about how to find true happiness, following Julia Childs guide to life. For a book about Julia Child, Karbos perspective is somewhat unexpected, because while Karbo clearly admires Julia Child as a person, she does not seem to share Julias love of cooking. Shes enamored mostly with Julias willingness to immerse herself fully in a new craft and career so late in life (in her late thirties), and that motivation is what Karbo encourages readers to emulate. She isnt encouraging readers to love cooking, but to find their own passion—the thing they would want to devote themselves to fully, as Julia did when she set out to write a comprehensive cookbook on mastering the art of French cooking. For that reason, this book will have wide appeal. Those who love cooking and those who dont, those who are fans of Julia Child and those who arent, will all find Karbos suggestions useful and thought-provoking—because the “rules” arent really about cooking at all. They are about overcoming adversity, having a strong work ethic, and not conforming to the expectations of others. Karbo draws these lessons from the fact that Julia (McWilliams) Child married for the first time later in life, after meeting Paul Child while she was working for the OSS (the precursor to the CIA). She also trained as a chef at Le Cordon Bleu in middle age. Karbo even draws lessons from young Julia, who was quite tall as a child—usually the tallest girl in her class or any room she was in, in fact. But rather than view this as something that made her an outcast, Julia found a way to use it to her advantage, never dwelling on things she didnt have the ability to change. This intriguing book is about how Julia Child became an icon, and Karbo attributes Childs success to her unique view on life. Here, through a fun and engaging set of rules, Karbo instructs readers on how they can follow Julias example and find true joy in life, too.” -ForeWord Reviews
"Karbos (The Gospel According to Coco Chanel: Life Lessons from the Worlds Most Elegant Woman, 2011, etc.) delightful foray into Julia Childs life blends entertaining facts with Child-inspired lessons for living the good life. The author chronicles the great cooking instructors childhood in Southern California, her work in Sri Lanka, her lifelong love affair with Paul Child, her trials while learning to cook and her midlife TV career. Childs life has been dissected many times, but Karbo adds a personal layer to the narrative. While exploring her inspirational and aspirational qualities, the author weaves in bittersweet memories of her family life and her mother, an early fan of Childs. As an explanation of Americas complex fascination with Child, Karbo writes, '[m]y 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.' The author holds Child up as an example of a woman comfortable in her own skin, intent on creating good food and finding a passion in life. Karbo underscores the lessons for achieving a happy life, as lived by Child, using chapter titles like 'Live with Abandon,' 'All You Need Is a Kitchen and a Bedroom' and 'Cooking Means Never Saying Youre Sorry.' Along the way, the author ladles out solid advice for contemporary women on a variety of topics, including the joy of hard work and how to both cultivate ways to amuse yourself and disobey the rules that society sets out for women. 'Julia pretty much ignored the whole thing, and it may be the only real lesson there is for the end of our days,' writes Karbo about Childs take on old age. 'Just pretend like it isnt happening, until you have no choice but to accept reality.' A lighthearted trek through a food icons life, studded with satisfying tips for modern living." --Kirkus
"Some titles just have a way of sticking
Portlands Karen Karbo follows biographical treatments of Katharine Hepburn, Coco Chanel and Georgia OKeeffe with “Julia Child Rules: Lessons on Savoring Life.”
From Julias country club youth, through her “Less Learning, More Moonshine” adventures in higher education, her high-security service in the earliest incarnation of the CIA, her cross-country martini-fueled courtship with her husband-to-be and her entrance into our kitchens and our homes, the woman was a joyous and fascinating force of nature.
Karbos informative and inspirational concoction is an absolute treat. The only downside — no, not the calories — is that you have to wait until October to enjoy it." --Register-Guard
If Julia Child stood for anything, it was the pleasure found in sharing good food with good people, working hard and being content (even when things aren't going your way), and living with joy and abandon. In Karen Karbo's new book, Julia Child Rules, she shares the universal themes we can all learn from the master of French cooking and shows us how to savor life.
About the Author
Karen Karbo is the author of The Gospel According to Coco Chanel, How Georgia Became O'Keeffe, and How to Hepburn. Her three novels were all named New York Times notable books, and The Stuff of Life, her memoir about her father, was a People Magazine Critic’s Pick and winner of the Oregon Book Award.She lives in Portland, Oregon.