The definitive biography of Julia Child - with access to Julia's diaries and letters - written by the author of the best-selling and critically acclaimed The Beatles and timed to Julia's 100th birthday.
From Pasadena to Cambridge to New York, Washington, D.C., India, Ceylon, Paris, Marseilles, Santa Barbara, and Maine, Bob Spitz re-creates an extraordinary life. He takes us beyond the image of Julia as the tall, eccentric woman with a funny voice who taught America how to cook, to establish her as a genuine rebel and beloved icon, a woman who redefined herself in middle age, helped to change the role of women in America, set the standard for how to create a public personality in the modern media world, and altered the way America eats and thinks of food. There might not be a Food Network or even a PBS if Julia had not blazed the trail.
Spitz chronicles Julia's friendships, her struggles, her heartwarming romance with Paul, and of course, the story of the publication of Mastering the Art of French Cooking and her triumphant TV career. A thorough, surprising, affectionate, and extraordinarily entertaining account of a truly remarkable life.
©2012 Bob Spitz (P)2012 Random House Audio
This tops the list. Julia was remarkable. I wish I had known her.
She did a great job in all aspects.
Yes, but impossible given it is 25 hrs long!
A truly great "read".
Graphic Designer. Culinary Enthusiast. Mostly User Friendly.
Having only read "Julie and Julia" and "As Always, Julia," this was my first full biography of Julia Child. I loved it. It was very detailed and covered her entire life, and I feel like I have a much better idea of who Julia was as a person rather than who she was as a persona.
I also enjoyed the narrative by Kimberly Farr, and while the book was long, I never found it boring.
Julia led an interesting life. Her journey is worth listening to.
Maybe. There were a couple of things I would have liked better about the book that wasn't there. Such as, Julia had a wicked sense of humor, I wish that I could have heard more stories about that part of her personality.
Also, I felt there was too much time spent on talking about the meals. I know she was known for her cooking, but after a while I felt like "enough already". Especially since the book was so long to begin with.
I've never listened to Kimberly Farr, but I was very please with her performance. She provided enough of the "Julia voice" to make it feel like it was really her...but not so much that it could be grating. I love Julia, but I wouldn't want to listen to her voice the whole time.
Keep looking and you'll find your destiny.
It was worth my time.
Having become addicted to the movie Julie & Julie, when I saw this I knew it was a must read. I love to cook but don't do much anymore, not much into cookbooks or fine dining, and never really was a fan of the only side of Julia Child I ever knew - the TV cook show persona but now, well into the second third of this book, I wish I had paid more attention to those cooking shows of hers. A delightful book about a delightful woman, The reader Kim Farr at times, either intentionally or naturally, hits that quirky falsetto voice of Julia and reads so well that I seldom even think about the voice but can picture Julia moving along in her life, getting to know her family, what an adventuresome woman she was for her time, seeing her in a kitchen, taking classes with GIs at the Le Cordon Bleu, her personal and spiritual growth through her life, etc, much gleaned from correspondence between Julia and others and Julia's husband, Paul Child, and his brother. A passing reference was made to a prior biography, which I might attempt to locate after finishing with this one. And finish every word I will and with great pleasure.
This is one of the better audiobooks, given the fact that I listened to every minute of it.
Many examples of her perseverance...years to finish the cookbooks, the book tours and fund raisers into her 80s were most impressive.
Pacing was good, as was her attention to correct pronunciation of non-English terms.
The book repeats itself in places, but overall it's an interesting story of a life full of variety. I also liked that the author explained the historical context of the times that influenced Julia's choices (or lack thereof). We also get to see a side of Julia Child that one never saw on the "French Chef", i.e. her penchant for risqué comments.
No. Once is enough. That's not a bad thing. I rarely listen to audio books twice. I might buy the book in print or electronic to read parts of it again, but would not listed again.
Julia Child's challenges to keep an active career while caring for her husband as his health failed.
The narrator was far too animated with exaggerated vocal highs and lows and accents in all the wrong places. This was particularly jarring when she had to speak Julia's voice. She gave Julia a high-pitched, fast-paced whiny tone. Julia Child did have a unique voice but it was neither fast nor whiny. You can find dozens of videos of Julia Child online and Kimberly Farr's imitation sounds nothing like the real thing.
Farr also has a tendency when reading lists of things (ingredients in a dish, restaurant names, dinne party guests) to accelerate the pace and increase the tone as she reads. This got very tiring to listen to.
I think I laughed in some spots, but I can't remember.
The story itself is a little over the top. For example, Spitz has a tendency to over-dramatize instances that most people who lived through them know were more mundane. His use of exaggerated metaphor is also overdone, like when he calls someone "more connected than an IBM mainframe."
I absolutely loved the movie 'Julie and Julia' and having seen it made this book more interesting; however, if you haven't seen it, this book will probably feel like a complete sleeper to you, The narrator did a great job of the French pronunciations here, but as for the written story itself, it's a bit boring. Would love to hear Julia's opinion of her life story, and although gone, she will not be forgotten! (Neither will Paul!)
Her French was very well spoken, and I loved when she would throw her voice to sound like Julia!
Not really. Only buy "Mastering...." to have on hand.
A little dissappointed, but nontheless, glad I listened to it.
Reviewing this text presents a somewhat perplexing dilemma: how to distinguish my response to the text itself and my response to the portrayal of the subject, Julia Child? This is now the third life of Julia Child. In no small measure,"Dearie" is a retelling of the two earlier works, "Appetite for Life" and "My Life in France." I suppose therefore that redundancy in the present bio is to be expected. The two earlier accounts however, were written before Julia’ passing, and so it do not contain the poignant final chapter of "Dearie." I’ve listened to "Dearie" no less than three times and I have gone back to review the other two texts as well. I find it curious to hear what Spitz includes and does not include. One odd difference is that the Julia of “My Life” eventually received a postdated diploma from Cordon Bleu but the Julia of “Dearie” does not. Did Spitz make this adjustment for dramatic effect? And if so, are there other details in his account that also have been adjusted?
Moving from the text to the portrait of Julia, Spitz’ biography confronts the reader with a Julia of two sides. While the reader coddles to a women of ostensible charm there seems to hide beneath the smile a very self-possessed ego intent upon control. While we are enjoined by a free spirit who dismisses artifice, we read of woman whose vanity calls for a face lift. While we delight in hearing of a marriage that united two unique individuals in a lifelong common pursuit, we find that they had separate bedrooms in Provence and in Boston.
The narrator also seems to tell the listener certain details that “passent sous silence.” Details were the listener must interpret between the lines. When we hear that Paul writes to his brother “ between us girls.’ or that Paul was accused by the McCarthy mob as being homosexual, or that Paul was fastidious, moody and disagreeable and that he vehemently disparaged gays, the listener begins to suspect .
The same question begins to work its way when it comes to Julia. From her tomboy days as a child to her awkward gestures in her television kitchen, it would be difficult to set up Julia as typically feminine. The author’s account of the marriage of Julia’s equally awkward sister, Dort, to a known gay man seems to suggest a parallel. Over these situations looms the dark shadow of Julia’s complete lack of identification with her father.
Whatever her intimate life may have been, there are few who reached out to so many and who opened to them such a rich and engrossing new world, not just in the kitchen but in a richer life experience. Spitz’ account no matter how interpreted, belongs in the library of everyone with a love for Julia and a taste for fine food.
A side note. This reading as with so many texts that feature words from languages would have benefited by a reader familiar with the language in question. The problem of correct pronunciation is not unique to this text; it is indeed, endemic in audiobooks. I do not see why the production companies do not secure the help of foreign language diction editors.
Another point to Audible: It would be helpful to have a discussion forum for your listeners. Exchange would open new perceptions of the texts.
An excellent narrative of Julia Child's life. I started to understand her passion, care and her forward thinking ways. The history of Pasadena was well done. The various anecdotes were shared brilliantly. I now understand why she did not like the book 'Julia and Julie'. That author played at cooking while not perfecting the process! Julie did not do her homework on Julia or Julia's cooking. Dearie is an excellent book and one I will not forget anytime soon.
Reading this book about Julia Child has been such a pleasant, gradually developing treasure! I was drawn to this book because I have long enjoyed the Julia Child that I knew from the PBS shows and was eager to learn more. This book goes back to the very essence of what helped her develop into the Julia that her fans came to love. I liked her before I read this book, and now I am utterly amazed by her! What a journey! What a spirit! What an inspiration! This book presents a Julia that I never would have guessed existed!
This narrator puts just the right touch of emotion into her reading, so that even though the book is long, it never feels tedious; and sometimes when she is quoting Julia it actually sounds like I hear a little of the timbre of the real Julia’s voice!
Most biographies I have read focus on certain portions of a person’s life, but I feel that this is the most thorough account I have ever read about one person...in one book. I truly feel as though I have known Julia!
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