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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.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By S. Vann on 08-17-12
Deeply mixed feelings
If you want a glowing biography that shows this icon in an unfailingly positive light, this is NOT the book for you.
If you want to know more about Julia AND Paul before The French Chef and after the peak of that series, this is a great book. If you want to know more about the darker side of Julia (and it seems she did have one), this is a great book. It can be easy to get lost in some of the details, and the lists of names can be confusing. I do wish that the narrator had made a firm decision - to warble or not to warble for Juli's voice - and stuck with it throughout the book. I fully intend to read the book soon to clarify some of the things that lost me, but this lets me wait until I can get it from the library.
I am torn about this book. Don't get me wrong, I have listened to "My Life in France" and "Julie and Julia" and watched just about every PBS special ever made about Julia Child, so I thought I was familiar with her life. This book showed that those other titles may have been skewed more than I knew. While it makes her less of a shining hero, this book makes her more real. I do intend to listen again.
34 of 34 people found this review helpful
By Arianah on 08-23-12
Excellent Book - A Realistic Biography
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
I would highly recommend this book. Both the story and the narrator had my attention from the first paragraph.
What did you like best about this story?
I love that we get the background for both Julia and Paul. Anything that I have seen previously regarding Paul was not in-depth. I love that both Julia and Paul, who had a true love affair that lasted 40+ years, were presented as the human beings they were with all of their faults and foibles and not some perfect super-human beings.
Which character – as performed by Kimberly Farr – was your favorite?
I think Kimberly did a wonderful job by not trying to overdue "the voice" that plagued Julia's maternal family as a result of elongated vocal cords.
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
Both. I laughed, I cried, I laughed again.
Any additional comments?
I am a review reader, not a review writer as a rule. When I purchased this book, it had one star and no reviews. I normally would not buy a book without reviews as I ALWAYS read reviews before purchasing, especially if the author is not known to me. But I love Julia Child. So I was quite pleased to find this was both wonderfully written and narrated. I have no clue as to why it was initially given one star. I can only say, I was sad to have finished the book. I loved feeling like a close friend to Julia.
24 of 24 people found this review helpful