Dearie The remarkable life of Julia Child

Bob Spitz

Book - 2012

Draws on the iconic culinary figure's personal diaries and letters to present a one-hundredth birthday commemoration that offers insight into her role in shaping women's views and influencing American approaches to cooking.

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BIOGRAPHY/Child, Julia
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Subjects
Published
New York : Knopf 2012.
Language
English
Physical Description
viii, 557 p. : ill. ; 25 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN
9780307473417
9780307272225
0307272222
Main Author
Bob Spitz (-)
  • Paradise
  • "On her way"
  • Julia of the almost spring
  • Only a butterfly
  • Keeper of the secrets
  • Paul
  • A diamond in the rough
  • Lucky to be alive
  • Devouring Paris whole
  • Lady sings the bleus
  • What she'd gotten herself into
  • A memorable feast
  • Frenchy French
  • This elephant of ours
  • Julia's turn to bloom
  • Taking everything in stride
  • A monstrously busy life
  • A law unto herself
  • The mad women of La Peetch
  • A household name
  • We are not all eternal
  • Looking forward
  • Enough
  • The end of an era
  • No one gets out alive
  • The beginning of the end
  • The raft.
Review by Booklist Reviews

The latest biography of Julia Child commemorates the centennial of the birth of America's undisputed queen of cuisine. Drawing on diaries and correspondence, it fleshes out details of her already much-examined life. Spitz reviews Child's upbringing in Pasadena, her education, her wartime career in America's intelligence services, and her move to Paris, her life's undisputed turning point. Spitz awards her husband, Paul, full credit for providing a solid marriage and encouraging his wife to realize her ambitions as cook, writer, television performer, and teacher. Spitz's research pays off in revealing accounts of Child's sometimes-prickly collaborations with coauthors and her generous friendships and occasional rivalries with professional colleagues. Spitz adeptly details her conflicts with publishers and television producers, who did not always live up to her exacting standards. Boundlessly talented and energetic, Child worked well into her eighties, despite her beloved's devastating illness and the deaths of so many fellow cooks and friends. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Choice Reviews

Spitz, a freelance journalist best known as a rock 'n' roll biographer (The Beatles: The Biography, 2005), shifts his attention to the rock star of home cooking, Julia Child. Over 27 chapters, Spitz moves chronologically through Child's life. Crosscutting themes include the rise of feminism that paralleled the subject's career and Child's "secret ingredient"--fun. Artifacts such as photographs and the script from the first episode of Child's show are included; more would have been welcome. The book, released on what would have been her centennial birthday, is marketed as an engaging trade publication. The style is readable, if cheesy ("Her French ... had fallen flatter than a crepe ..."). While the book is indexed, scholars will be frustrated by the lack of notes. There has been no shortage of Child biographies over the past decade: Laura Shapiro's excellent Julia Child: A Life (2007), Noel Riley Fitch's Appetite for Life: The Biography of Julia Child (CH, May'98, 35-5037), and, with her nephew Alex Prud'homme, Child's compelling autobiography My Life in France (CH, Sep'06, 44-0279). Spitz's approach compares well in its breadth and celebration of Child's fun-loving, temperamental, nonconformist side. Summing Up: Recommended. General readers. General Readers. J. M. Deutsch CUNY Kingsborough Community College Copyright 2012 American Library Association.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Journalist/biographer Spitz does celebrities well; he's responsible for the hugely best-selling The Beatles: The Biography. This book, publishing on August 15, the 100th anniversary of Julia Child's birth, has the support of Child's estate and promises to be the definitive account. The 100,000-copy first printing says it all. [Page 72]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

On November 3, 1948, a lunch in a Paris restaurant of sole meunière, the sole so very fresh with its delicate texture and cooked like an omelet in nothing but a bath of clarified butter, changed Julia Child's life. In that moment, Child (1912–2004) recognized and embraced food as her calling, setting out initially to learn the finer points of cooking, and French cooking in particular. In this affectionate and entertaining tribute to the witty, down-to-earth, bumptious, and passionate host of The French Chef, Spitz (The Beatles) exhaustively chronicles Child's life and career from her childhood in California through her social butterfly flitting at Smith and her work for a Pasadena department store to her stint in government service, her marriage to Paul Child, and her rise to become America's food darling with the publication of Mastering the Art of French Cooking and her many television shows. In spite of her miserable failures in her early attempts to prepare food for her husband, a determined Child enrolled in courses at the renowned French cooking school, Le Cordon Bleu, where she mastered everything from sauces to soufflés. Spitz reminds us that Child had always possessed a tremendous amount of excess energy with no outlet for expressing it. With the publication of her cookbook and the subsequent television shows, she discovered the place where she could use her cooking skills, her force of personality, and her abundant charm. Released to coincide with Child's centenary, Spitz's delightful biography succeeds in being as big as its subject. Agent: Sloan Harris, ICM. (Aug.) [Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Draws on the iconic culinary figure's personal diaries and letters to present a one-hundredth birthday commemoration that offers insight into her role in shaping women's views and influencing American approaches to cooking.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

The best-selling author of The Beatles draws on the iconic culinary figure's personal diaries and letters to present a 100th-birthday commemoration that explores her private life to offer insight into her role in shaping women's views and influencing American approaches to cooking. Reprint. 100,000 first printing.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • A"rollicking biography" (People Magazine) and extraordinarily entertaining account of how Julia Child transformed herself into the cult figure who touched off a food revolution that has gripped the country for decades.Spanning Pasadena to Paris, acclaimed author Bob Spitz reveals the history behind the woman who taught America how to cook. A genuine rebel who took the pretensions that embellished French cuisine and fricasseed them to a fare-thee-well, paving the way for a new era of American food—not to mention blazing a new trail in television—Child redefined herself in middle age, fought for women’s rights, and forever altered how we think about what we eat. Chronicling Julia's struggles, her heartwarming romance with Paul, and, of course, the publication of Mastering the Art of French Cooking and her triumphant TV career, Dearie is a stunning story of a truly remarkable life.