Everybody else loves this book -- I didn't. I've never been a fan of books in which the author -- or protagonist -- revels in his drug use, drinking, addictions and generally antisocial conduct, and that's what this is, a pride-filled account, not of Bourdain's obviously huge talent, but of his lamentable character. I'm libertarian enough to emphasize that I don't object to Bourdain's doing it -- it's just that I don't find such juvenile conduct interesting. I can't understand the mentality that takes pride in such self-destructive behavior.
For the record, I am a foodie, at least of sorts. Twice in my life I've supported myself and my kids by catering. I can cook -- not 1% of what Bourdain does, obviously. But I'm perfectly at home in the kitchen, yours or mine. All that said, it will be a long time before I'm ready to go into any restaurant again and order food, for the simple reason that while I didn't like what Bourdain was saying, I have no trouble at all believing it.
And that's the reason I gave a book that I basically didn't like four stars -- it rings true. Unfortunately, from my standpoint, Bourdain made me see what was going on there, behind the swinging doors. The book is well-written -- so much so that not only will I stay out of restaurants, but once again, I have promised myself never to darken the borders of Japan. Eating live animals is just not something I want to hear about, let alone do. I find myself hoping there is some kind of eternal punishment for those who would cause animals such suffering -- its beyond me, how anyone can enjoy such a thing.
Bourdain narrates his own book -- which is normally a good thing. Author-read books are usually among the best. In this one, however, Bourdain races through it, reading so fast, and -- in parts -- with so little inflection, it's easy to get left behind. Now that I've finished the book, it has occurred to me that maybe that's not such a bad thing.
I won't listen to this one again -- when the need for a "life with food" book strikes me, I will head for "Appetite for Life" featuring Julia Child, or "My Life in France" or any of a half-dozen other "Julia" books that I've read or listened to many times over. There's nobody shooting up in those books, nobody bleeding or barfing all over the food. Much better, as far as I'm concerned.
If you like eating out, skip this one. Or listen at your peril.
I absolutely loved the story, Anthony Bourdain did wonders to draw me into his coke-fuelled rise to the top. But I cannot bring myself to give it any more than 2 stars considering my immersion was ripped away on a number of occasions when my audiobook would truncate the end of a number of chapters in a relatively short audiobook. I thought maybe the download was corrupted but nope, even redownloading the entire book didn't help. Oh well.
This book is well written detailing personal stories, influences, and the rough life of being a kitchen rat.
Anthony Bourdain does not sugar coat his experiences, as he speaks about the good times of discovering new cuisine for the first time, and the camaraderie he's had with kitchen mates through the years. Bourdain unabashedly goes into the dark times of drug addiction, and going down the path of loneliness.
My favorites is the overall tone of the book, and the speaking off the cuff. It reminds me of a recent day variation of words that would be reminiscent of a punk rock inspired Jack Kerouac.
There are a few lulls at times when it seems that he is trying to fill space but he quickly makes up for it with a good story, or a cooking technique that draws you in.
The only regret is that the book finally ends. I need more!
As shocking and raw as you might expect. Uncomfortable at times, at times funny, sometimes tragic, it all adds up to something good.
The perspective of the narrative does wander. Sometimes a diary, sometimes mentorship to young cooks, sometimes education to budding gastronomes. But if you set that all aside it all somehow blends into a wonderful narrative.
It's good and the book is popular for a reason.
Although the content is really interesting this performance is spoilt by poor production. Anthony Bourdain sounds bored most of the time, not animated like he is on his shows. The audio quality is variable and there are some of the worst edits I've ever heard that clash words and have different levels.
Really fantastic. This book started AB's literary and TV career, and it didn't disappoint.
One of funniest books I've come across. You can feel the kitchen come to life. It is a dark, gritty, no BS reflection on how the food industry operates. It makes you love and hate food. A great read that have you laughing, and leave you wondering if you want to pound cheap beer or drink French wine while reading it.