As always, Julia The letters of Julia Child and Avis DeVoto : food, friendship, and the making of a masterpiece

Julia Child

Book - 2010

Presents more than 200 letters exchanged between Julia and Avis DeVoto, her friend and unofficial literary agent. This collection opens the window on Julia's deepest thoughts and feelings.

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BIOGRAPHY/Child, Julia
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Subjects
Published
Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Pub. Co 2010.
Language
English
Physical Description
xiii, 416 p. : ill., ports. ; 24 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN
9780547417714
0547417713
Main Author
Julia Child (-)
Other Authors
Avis De Voto (-), John Reardon, 1930-1988
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Many Julia Child followers already know the story of her extensive letter writing to "pen pal" Avis DeVoto, which began when DeVoto replied to a fan letter Child had sent to her husband, Bernard. But this volume marks the first appearance of their complete correspondence. Painstakingly compiled by editor Reardon (thanks to new archival access), the letters tell the incredible story of the rocky development of Child's chef d'oeuvre, Mastering the Art of French Cooking (1961). Child and DeVoto's relationship-on-paper began as a cooking one; living in Paris, Child enlisted DeVoto's help in determining what ingredients were available to housewives in the States, her target audience. Their talk of solely "cookery-bookery," cutely named by Child, quickly turned to friendly discussions of much more: family, social circles, and the politically taut McCarthy era. DeVoto, plugged into the American literary world, played an integral role in publishing Mastering. Helping one another through hardship (failed publishing attempts) and tragedy (Bernard's death), the women's frank, tender letters are an absolute delight to read, as much for their mouthwatering discussion of cuisine as for the palpable fondness they portray for one another. In an early note, DeVoto calls Child's evolving manuscript "as exciting as a novel to read," and, indeed, so are their conversations. Copyright 2010 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

As you'll remember from the film Julie & Julia, Avis DeVoto helped Julia Child come into her own. Here, noted culinary historian Reardon presents 200 letters they exchanged from 1952 to 1965, a crucial time dating from Child's initial move to Paris with her husband. The Julia wave is not subsiding. Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Readers may think they know Julia Child thanks to the recent Julie & Julia book and movie phenomenon. Even so, they are in for a treat with this release of the correspondence between Child and her friend and publishing mentor, Avis DeVoto. Noted culinary historian Reardon (M.F.K. Fisher Among the Pots and Pans) traces their friendship from Child's first fan letter to DeVoto's scholar husband in 1952 through the publication of Mastering the Art of French Cooking in 1961. Wisely, Reardon lets the two women tell the story themselves, discreetly inserting herself only to frame periods of the relationship with minimal narrative. The result is an appealingly unvarnished depiction of Child and DeVoto in their own words. They share engrossing conversation that reveals much about publishing and period politics and customs. VERDICT As lively as a good novel, this deserves an audience beyond those interested in culinary history. This terrifically entertaining and richly rewarding read will satisfy many. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 7/10.]—Peter Hepburn, Univ of Illinois at Chicago [Page 96]. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Culinary historian Reardon's collection of the correspondence between Child and her pen pal, Avis DeVoto (portrayed in the film Julie & Julia by Deborah Rush), bubbles over with intimate insights into their friendship. In 1952, Child was living in Paris when she wrote to Cambridge, Mass., historian Bernard DeVoto after reading his Harper's article about knives. Her letter was answered by his wife, Avis, who soon became her confidante, sounding board, and enthusiastic fellow cook. The two met finally met in person two years later. As a part of the publishing community, Avis (who died in 1989) was responsible for securing the publication of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, steering the book first to Houghton Mifflin and then to its eventual home at Knopf. Their letters span a wide range of topics, from cookbooks, menus, recipes, and restaurants to Balzac, sex, goose stuffing, gardening, learning languages, the political climate, Sunday afternoon cocktail parties, and proofreading. Witty, enlightening and entertaining, these letters serve as a compelling companion volume to Mastering the Art of French Cooking. (Dec. 1) [Page ]. Copyright 2010 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Presents more than 200 letters exchanged between Julia and Avis DeVoto, her friend and unofficial literary agent. This collection opens the window on Julia's deepest thoughts and feelings.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Shares the previously unpublished correspondences between the iconic celebrity chef and her unofficial literary agent from 1952 to 1965, offering insight into such events as Julia's early experiences as a new bride in Paris, her support of her diplomat husband and her views on period politics. 50,000 first printing.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Shares the previously unpublished correspondence between the iconic celebrity chef and her unofficial literary agent from 1952 to 1965, offering insight Julia's early experiences as a new bride in Paris, her support of her diplomat husband, and her viewson period politics.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

With her outsize personality, Julia Child is known around the world by her first name alone. But despite that familiarity, how much do we really know of the inner Julia?  Now more than 200 letters exchanged between Julia and Avis DeVoto, her friend and unofficial literary agent memorably introduced in the hit movie Julie & Julia, open the window on Julia’s deepest thoughts and feelings. This riveting correspondence, in print for the first time, chronicles the blossoming of a unique and lifelong friendship between the two women and the turbulent process of Julia’s creation of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, one of the most influential cookbooks ever written. Frank, bawdy, funny, exuberant, and occasionally agonized, these letters show Julia, first as a new bride in Paris, then becoming increasingly worldly and adventuresome as she follows her diplomat husband in his postings to Nice, Germany, and Norway. With commentary by the noted food historian Joan Reardon, and covering topics as diverse as the lack of good wine in the United States, McCarthyism, and sexual mores, these astonishing letters show America on the verge of political, social, and gastronomic transformation.

Review by Publisher Summary 5

With her outsize personality, Julia Child is known around the world by her first name alone. But despite that familiarity, how much do we really know of the inner Julia?  Now more than 200 letters exchanged between Julia and Avis DeVoto, her friend and unofficial literary agent memorably introduced in the hit movie Julie & Julia, open the window on Julia's deepest thoughts and feelings. This riveting correspondence, in print for the first time, chronicles the blossoming of a unique and lifelong friendship between the two women and the turbulent process of Julia's creation of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, one of the most influential cookbooks ever written. Frank, bawdy, funny, exuberant, and occasionally agonized, these letters show Julia, first as a new bride in Paris, then becoming increasingly worldly and adventuresome as she follows her diplomat husband in his postings to Nice, Germany, and Norway. With commentary by the noted food historian Joan Reardon, and covering topics as diverse as the lack of good wine in the United States, McCarthyism, and sexual mores, these astonishing letters show America on the verge of political, social, and gastronomic transformation.

Review by Publisher Summary 6

This dishy and delightful, never-before-published correspondence between America's queen of food, Julia Child, and her confidante and mentor Avis DeVoto, shows not only the blossoming of a lifelong friendship, but also an America on the verge of political, social, and gastronomic transformation.

Review by Publisher Summary 7

With her outsize personality, Julia Child is known around the world by her first name alone. But despite that familiarity, how much do we really know of the inner Julia?  Now more than 200 letters exchanged between Julia and Avis DeVoto, her friend and unofficial literary agent memorably introduced in the hit movie Julie & Julia, open the window on Julia’s deepest thoughts and feelings. This riveting correspondence, in print for the first time, chronicles the blossoming of a unique and lifelong friendship between the two women and the turbulent process of Julia’s creation of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, one of the most influential cookbooks ever written. Frank, bawdy, funny, exuberant, and occasionally agonized, these letters show Julia, first as a new bride in Paris, then becoming increasingly worldly and adventuresome as she follows her diplomat husband in his postings to Nice, Germany, and Norway. With commentary by the noted food historian Joan Reardon, and covering topics as diverse as the lack of good wine in the United States, McCarthyism, and sexual mores, these astonishing letters show America on the verge of political, social, and gastronomic transformation.