The Remarkable Life of Julia Child

Spitz, Bob

Book - 2012
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
It is rare for someone to emerge in America who can change our attitudes, our beliefs, and our very culture. It is even rarer when that someone is a middle-aged, six-foot three-inch woman whose first exposure to an unsuspecting public is cooking an omelet on a hot plate on a local TV station. And yet, that is exactly what Julia Child did. The warble voiced doyenne of television cookery became an iconic cult figure and joyous rule breaker as she touched off the food revolution that has gripped America for more than fifty years. Julia Child was a directionless, gawky young woman who ran off halfway around the world to join a spy agency during World War II. She eventually settled in Paris, where she learned to cook. She was already fifty when The French Chef went on the air, at a time in our history when women were not making those leaps. Julia became the first educational TV star, virtually launching PBS as we know it today. Julia Child's story, however, is more than the tale of a talented woman and her sumptuous craft. It is also a saga of America's coming of age and growing sophistication, from the Depression Era to the turbulent sixties and the excesses of the eighties to the greening of the American kitchen. Julia had an effect on and was equally affected by the baby boom, the sexual revolution, and the start of the women's liberation movement. On the centenary of her birth, Julia finally gets the biography she richly deserves. --From publisher description.

Publisher: New York : A.A. Knopf, 2012.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 0307272222
Characteristics: viii, 557 p. : ill. ; 25 cm.


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Jul 23, 2013
  • candot rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Remarkable life indeed. I really enjoyed this book about Julia. She was a wonderful woman.

Apr 10, 2013
  • Evamach rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

While I did see some of her shows and have one of her cookbooks, what I really appreciated in this book is the tale of the development of Julia as a person, and the wonderfully evocative descriptions of her relationships, with her husband, her co-authors and more.

I am only mildly interested in cooking, so I was not sure I would get through this huge book but it held my interest throughout.

Mar 09, 2013

Wow, I had no idea that Julia came from such a privaleged background!

Jan 19, 2013
  • sweetsoo rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

A truly amazing and enjoyable biography.

Jan 03, 2013
  • hgibbins rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

What a life! This is an amazing biography of a cultural icon. She brought authentic French cooking into the homes of millions, and was the inspiration for all the cooking shows you see on television today. It would be so beneficial if the shows we have on today would actually review some of Mrs. Child's shows, and actually teach the viewers something, rather than just act a form of mindless entertainment.

Dec 17, 2012
  • bucdrew rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Fascinating story about a truly remarkable woman, that had me you-tubing clips from her old shows. I was already familiar with the overall Julia Child story (wealthy parents, worked for the agency that would become the CIA in WWII, moved to France where she fell in love with French cooking, attended Le Cordon Bleu and co-wrote a cookbook designed to introduce French techniques to American cooks, practically created PBS as we know it with her show The French Chef, etc.) but I was amazed at how hard she worked, what a perfectionist she was, how the TV persona was both natural and crafted, and many other details of her life. The only thing keeping me from giving it five stars is the author's over-reliance on cliches, and his obvious favoritism toward his subject.

Dec 05, 2012
  • legadillo rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

coulda been shorter

Oct 16, 2012

"Julia Child, cookbook author and television star, lived a rich and complex life even before she discovered French cuisine in 1948. In Dearie, biographer Bob Spitz recounts details of Child's California upbringing, her wartime service with the OSS, her loving relationship with her husband, and her friendships and professional ties. Her apparently inexhaustible energy, joie de vivre, and charm come to life on the pages of this biography." From Next Reads Biography & Memoir October 2012 newsletter

Sep 23, 2012

Since seeing her first TV show live on public TV in the '60s, I've been a huge Julia-phile and will read anything and everything about her. Lots of fascinating new background and information in this book, and I enjoyed reading it. Only complaint is the author's too-cute, somewhat flippant language in places, that felt like an intrusion in the account of an actual person.


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