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Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  9,183 ratings  ·  1,082 reviews
It’s rare for someone to emerge in America who can change our attitudes, our beliefs, and our very culture. It’s 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’s exactly what Julia Child did.  The warble-voiced doyenne of televi ...more
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Published August 7th 2012 by Random House Audio
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Aug 08, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: unfinished
Ugh. I had such hopes for this book, but after listening to about 3 hrs of it I gave up. The author seemed so caught in every minute detail of her life that he couldn't get to the good stuff. During the 3 hrs that I listened, I learned that she had ancestry back to the Mayflower, wore a gingham dress as part of her high school uniform and ate at dinners in New York during the 1930's. Shesh!

The author also tended to have a tone of superiority in his writing that i really didn't like. Several time
I have adored Julia Child ever since I saw her cook on PBS in the 1970s. I hands down give her credit for my love of food and cooking. I have more of her cookbooks than any other in my collection (nine) and never pass up the opportunity to read something about her, or catch an old episode of “Jacques and Julia.” So when my own dearie brought home the latest biography in honor of her 100th birthday, I couldn’t wait to sit down and sink in.

I love the story that Child started cooking while in her
The Library Lady
I might have been impressed by this book if I hadn't already read Noel Riley Fitch's Appetite For Life last summer and Julia Child's own My Life In France several years before that. But I have. So I wasn't.

There is little new material here.Aside from an occasional nugget or two, everything here was covered in those books. Spitz spends a good deal of time imposing his own view of Julia upon her behavior, commenting on social history and slanging American home cooking--and as a home cook myself, t
Aug 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
on chapter 14 today
This is a book that you don't want to finish because you don't want it to end. It's re-energizing my drive to bake more bread ... not really the right time for that at the moment.

Six years in France; 4 in Paris, 2 in Marseille. What an amazing experience and Julia maximized it.
Fascinating the relationship between Julia and the two French women collaborators and then her connection with Avis DeVoto - I loved that book "As Always, Julia".

Hate to have finished this.
This was a wo
Lynette Sheppard
I bought this book on a whim. While I enjoy some biographies, I really had little interest in Julia Child. Sure, I read "Julie and Julia" and liked it well enough - thought the movie did not live up to the book. But I don't do French cooking and while I love to eat, I don't like spending all day in the kitchen.

This turned out to be another book I could not put down. If I'd known Julia Child, I'd have been so proud to be her friend. She epitomizes the strong woman - coupled with optimism, passion
Aug 02, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Julia Child fans
Shelves: biography
My husband says I have weird tastes. As I mentioned in my review of the last Julia Child book I read, I have no obsession with food or France. I don't cook often. Yet, here I am, reading this extensive biography of Julia Child. I just don't like to (usually) limit myself!

My ideas of Julia Child were fairly vague till now, then formed a bit more after reading My Life in France, but now they're fairly solid, though probably not quite comprehensive yet.

The reason I say this is because this book, wh
May 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

"Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child" is one of those page turners. She lead an interesting life. Her mischievous humor, fun attitude towards life and that inner drive that she finally discovered inside herself towards cooking, food testing and food perfection in recipes are all the facets that made her great. She was a one-of-a-kind woman, and unique to the cooking world.
Oct 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Julia was a force of nature, that is for sure. Julia was fearless and full of adventure during a time when women were legally relegated to second-class citizens. She made her own way and followed her own path, and made changes in the world. This biography follows her through the war years where she worked for the spy department, her long-time marriage to Paul Child, her years abroad where she discovered French cooking, and the inception of the Julia Child empire we all know today. I actually met ...more
Dec 12, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A good biography doesn't read like a biography. It doesn't speak directly about the person (the subject) and start sentence after sentence with "she _______" or make blatant statements about their character like "Julia was a non-conformist." It also doesn't speak with a pre-determined tone of what we know or expect the person to be- merely confirming and reinforcing the general opinion or knowledge about the person. These are all of the reasons why this is not an interesting or well written biog ...more
Fran Hutton
Dearie tells the story of Julia Child, one of my heroes. She was a late bloomer, who, a decade after graduating from Smith (and barely at that) still didn't know what the heck to do with her life. By the time she died in 2004, two days shy of her 92nd birthday, she was an American icon. Her kitchen can be seen in the Smithsonian, and on this web link

Biographies are perhaps my favorites reads. I am always interested in reading about the childhood of intriguing
Lynn G.
Jul 21, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who enjoys biographies or the culinary arts
Having read My Life in France My Life in France by Julia Child and Julie and Julia 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen by Julie Powell Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen some years ago, I was intrigued to read this biography of renowned culinary star, Julia Child. Julia Child's warbling voice was frequently heard in my parents' home as my mother was a devoted fan. Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume 1 & 2: The Essential Cooking Classics Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume 1 & 2 The Essential Cooking Classics by Julia Child was the frequent source of delicious meals cooked by my mother. So, I am no stranger to Julia. I was, howev ...more
Jul 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Before there was a Food Network, there was Julia Child. "Dearie" is an entertaining and often poignant look at her life.

Bob Spitz presents us with a well-researched biography that could easily have been dry as burnt toast and instead lets us see behind the television personality to the woman.

Julia McWilliams was born in 1912 into a well-to-do Pasadena family and seemed to have her life mapped out; ideas about women's roles were firmly entrenched in both society and her family. Instead, she longs
Aug 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Author Bob Spitz spent several weeks traveling through Sicily with Julia Child in 1992 and admits that he developed “a powerful crush on her,” which inspired him to write Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child. The book’s release coincides with the 100th anniversary of her birth, and it’s the perfect way to celebrate the rich life of this culinary legend, television pioneer, and cultural icon. Both the author’s admiration and Julia’s larger-than-life personality shine through in this in-dept ...more
Jane Hoppe
How 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
Sep 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I knew nothing about Julia Child, not even her existence until in a moment of synchronicity I recorded (unsuccessfully due to our crappy signal) Julie and Julia, then found this biog in our local library.

This is a very well-written biography, full of information but not over-burdened with footnotes or citations (they are available on the website should you wish to find out more). The prose is eminently readable, only occasionally falling prey to verbiage, most notably in chapter titles or referr
Okay, I'll admit it doesn't sound very exciting to read a ginormous book about a dead chef, especially if one isn't a chef herself, but this one sneaked up on me. I was in the car listening to the Diane Rehm Show and heard the author, Bob Spitz, being interviewed about the book. That, coupled with the fact that I'd received a Barnes & Noble % off coupon in my email, was enough to prod me to order the book. While heft-wise it's certainly no Mastering the Art of French Cooking, it was still intimi ...more
Aug 24, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Foodies, Julia lovers, people who like biographies.
Recommended to Richard by: I read a review, and after Julie & Julia, I was curious.
This large book probably covers more details about Julia's and her families lives than you want to know. It did for me. It also shows the early development of PBS.

Living on the West Coast, all this action in Boston and New York might as well have been on Mars. In the 1960's and 70's, we were all about making a living and raising children. We were at war. Television was not an important part of our lives and French cooking even less so. We had cookbooks; 101 ways to cook a hotdog; the I hate to c
Jan 04, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having read several other bios of Julia Child, I would say that, while this is a fine book, it is not my favorite (My Life in France & As Always Julia are my favorites, as they are taken from Ms. Child's own words and focus on the 1940s-1960s). Spitz often draws conclusions about events and Child's life that aren't supported by any evidence that he presents. Also, the time spent on her very early life, while interesting and important, seems overly long.

On the good side, Spitz presents an unvarn
Jul 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very comprehensive look at Julia Child's live. I particularly enjoyed learning about how she met Paul and her time working for the OSS in WWII. I used to hate cooking and thought I couldn't be good at it, but after I found out that Julia started out as a bad cook, I figured I could get better too. She lived an amazing life! ...more
Feisty Harriet
This book starts so, so slow! Like, the founding of Pasadena in the 1800's slow...followed by Civil War stories about, I assume, Julia's ancestors. Honestly, I skipped the first 100ish pages because I truly do not care about her Indiana grandparents walking across the plains to settle in California. I just hoped that I wouldn't be lost in chapter 57 when they discussed The Pasadena Incident (there is no Pasadena Incident, but please skip those first super unnecessary chapters!). Once Spitz final ...more
Oct 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars.
This was a long audiobook but it was great. Julia’s life really was remarkable. It was just never ending all that she did. For someone who lived from 1912-2004, she really saw it all. And was on her feet working and enjoying life for pretty much all of it. She even was supposed to be on the flight from Boston heading to LA on 9/11 but wasn’t on the flight because filming plans had to change and then pushed the flight back to later in the week. So amazing and crazy.
I knew she was famo
Nov 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Julia Child (Is there anyone in America who doesn't?) and this biography just made me love her more. From her pampered childhood in Pasadena, California to her rebellions against a restricted upper middle-class life, to her rather late in life embrace of French cuisine, she remains a likable and upstanding woman.

Julia Child looked at life squarely in the face and refused to accept defeat in anything she had put her mind to. That's the way she lived her life - right up until it was her tu
Apr 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book!! Great story!! It was interesting to learn about Julia child!!
Michele Weiner
Oct 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a wonderful, loving portrait of a real American character, Julia Child. Julia, nee McWillliams, came from a prominent and well-off Pasadena "pioneer" family. Her father was a curmudgeon and her mother was free-spirited and eccentric. Julia was an energetic tomboy with a brother who was somehow not quite capable or hardy enough in this family, and a sister, Dort, who grew to be 6"5"" tall. Brother John was sent back to New England to run the paper company that was the source of his mother ...more
Sari Biklen
Jun 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
With a few interruptions here and there, I read straight through this book. It has been described as an "affectionate" portrayal of Julia, and I think in the best sense of that word, it is. But luckily, the book does not romanticize or sentimentalize her, and that is to its credit. I was pretty critical when the book opened because of the author's continual referrals to things as typically American, when the stuff he was describing seemed so white, WASPY and middle class to me. When he would say ...more
I did not grow up with Julia Child on our television. Though my parents liked to cook, the cookbooks in our house and the shows on our local PBS station were The Victory Garden and The Frugal Gourmet, rather than The French Chef, In Julia's Kitchen with Master Chefs, or Julia & Jacques Cooking at Home. Consequently, up until 2009, my mental image of Julia Child wasn't even Julia Child. It was Dan Aykroyd impersonating Julia Child on Saturday Night Live. That changed abruptly in 2009 when I saw J ...more
Jul 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I haven't always loved Julia Child. My first real knowledge of her was Dan Ackroyd spurting blood from his hand while admonishing us all, in Child's warble-y voice to "Save the liver!" Basically I was born in 1966 when "The French Chef" is just gaining steam.

But somewhere along the line, I started loving her. So Bob Spitz already had me in the palm of his hand with this book.

Needless to say, with 500 and some pages, it is IN DEPTH. Having read Child's "My Life in Paris," there is a lot of overla
Shirley Brosius
Nov 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
I doubt I ever read a biography that covered every aspect of an individual’s life more thoroughly than this book. It was as though Bob Spitz had a ringside seat beginning with Julia Child’s childhood escapades and her relationship with her difficult father right on through years of trying to find her niche in the world. Then he recorded her unstoppable enthusiasm once she discovered a passion for French cooking. With her devoted husband Paul cheering her on, Julia mesmerized public television au ...more
Before Julia the state of American cuisine was deplorable, to say the least: mayo-slathered spam, tuna casserole with potato chips, mushy vegetables out of the can, instant mashed potatoes with an array of artificial flavourings... Yum (not). It seemed the market got carried away with convenience and futuristic know-how that leaned on synthetics a little too much. A meal was reduced to just an inconvenient pause for a re-fuel.

It took Julia one meal of sole meunière in France to launch her desti
Sep 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to this one (20 discs -- definitely turned that one in late!), because for some inexplicable reason, I've been on an audiobook kick lately. Specifically speaking, a Julia Child audiobook kick. So I feel I've sort of become an armchair expert on them. Another reviewer said that she thought this was exhaustive, possibly to its own detriment. It's true that if you just want the juicy stuff you should get Julia Child, A Life, by Laura Shapiro (only five or six discs on audio, so there you ...more
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Bob Spitz is the award-winning author of The Beatles, a New York Times best seller, as well as seven other nonfiction books and a screenplay. He has represented Bruce Springsteen and Elton John in several capacities. His articles appear regularly in magazines and newspapers, including The New York Times Magazine; The Washington Post; Rolling Stone; and O, The Oprah Magazine, among others.

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29 likes · 2 comments
“Julia dealt with rules the way she later dealt with vegetarians; she pretended they didn't exist.” 9 likes
“The cooking was invigorating, joyous. For Julia, the cooking fulfilled the promises that Le Cordon Bleu had made but never kept. Where Le Cordon Bleu always remained rooted in the dogma of French cuisine, Julia strove to infuse its rigors with new possibilities and pleasures. It must have felt liberating for her to deconstruct Carême and Escoffier, respecting the traditions and technique while correcting the oversight. “To her,” as a noted food writer indicated, “French culinary tradition was a frontier, not a religion.” If a legendary recipe could be improved upon, then let the gods beware.” 8 likes
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