“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 Julia’s 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 Karbo’s 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 Karbo’s humor is most evident. But, ultimately, it is a self-help book about how to find true happiness, following Julia Child’s guide to life. For a book about Julia Child, Karbo’s perspective is somewhat unexpected, because while Karbo clearly admires Julia Child as a person, she does not seem to share Julia’s love of cooking. She’s enamored mostly with Julia’s 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 isn’t 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 don’t, those who are fans of Julia Child and those who aren’t, will all find Karbo’s suggestions useful and thought-provoking—because the “rules” aren’t 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 didn’t have the ability to change. This intriguing book is about how Julia Child became an icon, and Karbo attributes Child’s success to her unique view on life. Here, through a fun and engaging set of rules, Karbo instructs readers on how they can follow Julia’s example and find true joy in life, too.” –ForeWord Reviews"Karbo’s (The Gospel According to Coco Chanel: Life Lessons from the World’s Most Elegant Woman, 2011, etc.) delightful foray into Julia Child’s life blends entertaining facts with Child-inspired lessons for living the good life. The author chronicles the great cooking instructor’s 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. Child’s 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 Child’s. As an explanation of America’s 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 You’re 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 Child’s take on old age. 'Just pretend like it isn’t happening, until you have no choice but to accept reality.' A lighthearted trek through a food icon’s life, studded with satisfying tips for modern living." --Kirkus"Some titles just have a way of sticking
Portland’s Karen Karbo follows biographical treatments of Katharine Hepburn, Coco Chanel and Georgia O’Keeffe with “Julia Child Rules: Lessons on Savoring Life.”
From Julia’s 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.
Karbo’s 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