Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Encore Une Fois ~ Notre Julia (Once Again ~ Our Julia)

Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia ChildHow many books about Julia Child can a person thoroughly enjoy? Three, it turns out. Having read Noel Riley Fitch’s biography, Appetite for Life, and Julia Child’s and Alex Prud’homme’s My Life in France, I wondered if Bob Spitz’s Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child might prove to be too much of the same. It did not. Though time line events were familiar, behind-the-scenes anecdotes and interviews were new.

Because of this third book about Julia Child, I think I understand her thinking and principles and decisions a bit better. Spitz presents more of her hard edges than the other books do. Whether his presentation of her driven, angry, rebellious, and earthy sides is out of balance with the real Julia Child, I do not know. Spitz also reveals business sides of publishing, television, and celebrity. As usual, my favorite take-away was renewed admiration for Julia Child’s belief in herself and her vision, as well as her exuberant taste buds and teaching passion.

The strength of Spitz’s biography is the stories. I didn’t want them to end. Conversations, negotiations, funny moments fascinated me. It is from many of these conversations that the book’s title came; Dearie was how Julia Child often addressed people. The book’s weakness, in my opinion, was a dearth of photos.

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