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Paperback Appetite for Life : The Biography of Julia Child Book

ISBN: 0385493835

ISBN13: 9780385493833

Appetite for Life : The Biography of Julia Child

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Book Overview

Julia Child became a household name when she entered the lives of millions of Americans through our hearts and kitchens. Yet few know the richly varied private life that lies behind this icon, whose statuesque height and warmly enthused warble have become synonymous with the art of cooking. In this biography we meet the earthy and outrageous Julia, who, at age eighty-five, remains a complex role model. Fitch, who had access to all of Julia's private...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Long Live Julia Child

I read this book immediately after reading a recent biography of James Beard. Before having read both books, I was sure Beard was deservedly at the pinnacle of American culinary expertise and influence. I now believe that position belongs to Julia Child, who, with her two French colaborators, was almost entirely responsible for the text of their books, unlike Beard, who employed a sizeable number of ghost writers in much the same way that 'Martha Stewart' is more of a brand for a team effort than itis the identity of a single worker. At the same time, one can easily trace the rebirth of interest in things culinary by the conjunction of Childs books and early PBS shows with the advent of the Kennedy White House French Chef hired by Jackie Kennedy. I also have an enormous respect for Child in comparison to Beard for scrupulously avoiding product endorsements and other commercial entanglements.I know this book was written without the active cooperation of Ms. Child, and I believe it shows. The author had access to all of Child's papers and correspondence and, I'm sure, interviewed a large number of Child's friends and colleagues. This makes me yearn to read Julia's own memoir. Until that is available, this will do just fine.

Not For Cooks Only!

Julia Child as a personality has long been melded with Julia Child, the cook. I watched her shows in the sixties as a child having little interest in the kitchen, but simply finding her fascinating to watch! 'The French Chef', unlike the Galloping Gourmet and others, has aged well and can still be watched with enjoyment. Why? Because Julia Child was always herself on TV, never pandering to the transient and fickle tastes of the times. Watching Julia's various series, I learned some about her life, but eagerly purchased this book when it first appeared. Unlike some other reviewers, I delighted in this auther's literary painting of the times in which Julia has lived. To me, nothing is more disappointing in a biography than the feeling that something has been left out! This book demonstrates that though her name to the public has been made by her cooking career, Julia Child is much, much more. For those who enjoy reading biographies, this will provide enjoyment regardless of whether they like cooking or not!

Thoroughly satisfying!

This book was simply marvelous. It captured Julia's life perfectly and managed to fully incorporate her sense of humor - I found myself laughing, crying, and hungry. It is meticulously detailed, but not boring. Bon Appetit!

Rich, romantic bio of a great woman of our century.

My husband and I listened to this book on tape (Blackstone Audio). We both loved it, and couldn't wait to get home each evening to hear the next tape in the 16-tape series. Neither of us knew much about Julia Child previously, and we are both very grateful to have 'Appetite for Life' open our eyes to a truly inspirational American. Julia can look for us in one of those long, long lines of adoring fans at her next book signing.

Appetite for Life: Julia Child

My pleasure in this book has been enhanced by having actually crossed paths with Julia Child several times, after myself having moved to Cambridge from her own native Pasadena. She strode towards me once in the crosswalk at Harvard Square and made a similar impression on me as a basketball player once did at UCLA: monumental yet agile. Later, while going over the pre-wrapped meats at her favorite grocery, Savenor's, I glimpsed her in the sanctum sanctorum of the butcher, standing capably at the chopping block flanked by several relatively small men in blood-stained aprons, while she manipulated the ribcage of a steer. Noel Riley Fitch manages to convey the remarkable physical and emotional balance at the core of her subject. As Paul Child's letters to his twin brother proclaim, his Julia is "characterful." From her pre-school days at Montessori (whose alumni include Anne Frank) where calm, independent exploration in a "controlled environment" taught her dexterity and peacefulness, to her early adulthood in China (which helped to sever the bond with too-predictable Pasadena), we learn how she came to challenge the food Establishment. Nor was she one to become embroiled in the brushfires of political correctness. I envy her the post-War days in Paris where she and Paul arrived as benign conquering heroes. Then the French were happy to teach those who wanted to learn (with the exception of one lackluster head of Cordon Bleu). Perhaps the Julia's of the world can always find the lights on for them. In spite of her approval of their French fries, Julia had too much of the spirit of adventure to confine herself to McDonald's-type outposts in foreign lands. Her stay in China got her mingling with the locals and picking up a little amoebic dysentery which she probably shrugged off as the price of admission. Ms. Fitch has managed a mass of material, perhaps so much because a characterful life is an open book. At times the author's energy flags in pursuit of her subject, but it is a small fault. Anyone's would.
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