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Appetite for Life: The Biography of Julia Child [Paperback]

Noel Riley Fitch
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
RRP: 11.45
Price: 11.38 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

May 2012

Julia Child entered the lives of millions of Americans with her bestselling cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking; her popular and long-running cooking show, The French Chef; and her beloved memoir, My Life in France. In this intimate and revealing biography, based on exclusive interviews and scores of private letters and diaries, Noel Riley Fitch leads us through her incredible life.
We travel with Julia from her exuberant youth in California to her raucous days at Smith College; from her volunteer service with the OSS during World War II to the day she met Paul Child, the man with whom she would enjoy a fifty year marriage. We’re with her when she takes her first culinary course at 37 and discovers her true calling; when she begins work on her landmark cookbook and suffers the rejections of most publishers in New York. And when finally her vision strikes a chord with a generation of Americans tired of bland cuisine, we’re there to share in the making of a legend.
Julia Child became a household name by resisting fads and narrow conventions, by being the quintessential teacher and an inspiration to modern women, and by doing it all with her trademark humor and aplomb. Appetite for Life is her truly remarkable story.

Frequently Bought Together

Appetite for Life: The Biography of Julia Child + As Always, Julia: The Letters of Julia Child and Avis Devoto + My Life in France
Price For All Three: 27.90

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Product details

  • Paperback: 569 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor Books (May 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307948382
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307948380
  • Product Dimensions: 23.3 x 16.3 x 3.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 173,294 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great biography 12 Mar 2010
By Jill Meyer TOP 500 REVIEWER
I bought this book after seeing the movie Julie and Julia a couple of weeks ago. I really didn't know much about Julia and Paul Child - who were indeed a team as this bio points out - until reading Fitch's book. Her writing is excellent, and I'd rather know too much than too little about a subject. I just cannot understand any of the bad reviews of this book that have been written.

I have also read "Julie and Julia", which I didn't quite care for. I still have the third book, Julia Child's own "My Life in France" next up on my reading table. But to get back to Fitch's book, which ends before Child's death in 2004, it is a complete biography of all of Child's life up to the point it was written. Fitch incorporates most of Julia'a (and Paul's) family and friends and makes special mention of their WW2 duties in the OSS in Ceylon and China. Most of all, the reader can "see" how Julia McWilliams and Paul Child fell in love and created "Julia Child".

Fitch's work is a good addendum to the movie Julie and Julia.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This book could have been much more . Mrs Child hardly emerges from turgid , often inconsequential details and stilted prose. A missed opportunity to dig behind the narcissistic post-war US food world. Saint Julia was an active player in that world but this reads like a very authorised biography! If readers want more insights and finer writing see Robert Clark's landmark bio of Jim Beard The Solace of Food.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating yet difficult 26 Jan 1998
By A Customer
This fascinating look at a truly amazing woman is well worth the effort of slogging through what amounts to some pretty tough reading. The author seems to not only paint a thorough picture of Julia Child, "the woman", but also of the world itself as a backdrop to Julia's life. The level of detail is fascinating, but it will also put you to sleep if you are not careful. This is not a book to read in bed! The portraits of Julia as a priviledged child, Julia as a rascal of a college student, Julia as an international spy, and Julia as a young married woman, all leading up to the Julia I (thought) I knew today was wonderful. I don't know that I would re-read it anytime soon (unless I was experiencing insomnia) but I would recommend it for anybody with a strong interest in Julia Child.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What a life! (But where was the editor?) 15 Jan 1998
By A Customer
Julia Child herself is so interesting--her personality, her life, her accomplishments--I was captivated by this book. Ok, so the author did so much research she apparently couldn't bear to part with a single fact (and either there was no editor on the scene or that person was way too nice about the job), but if you keep moving (especially past the childhood), it's well worth the effort. I was pleased to have the full range of this remarkable woman's life laid out so I could reflect on how much she has contributed. What a life!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Missing that soupcon of elan! 7 Nov 1997
By A Customer
While I must commend the author on her exhaustive and splended research, I came away from "Appetite For Life" more disappointed than pleased. Something is missing here. We have the facts, laid out in paragraph after paragraph replete with parentheses. But where is the spirit, the elan, the brio that is Julia Child? Where is the sensual, sexy soul of the man who cherished this gawky, coltish young woman and supported her in her career? They are hinted at, but never revealed. If only Fitch had given us the complete text of even one of Paul's delightful poems to Julia, it would have helped to capture that "thing" they had for each other. I was lucky enough to read the one about her warbling voice when it was published in the New York Times Magazine and I was so hoping to read it again here. In summary, do read this book - especially if you do not already know Julia's background. But, to really know Julia, watch the PBS reruns and read her own cookbooks!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Epstein Misses The Point 22 Oct 1997
By A Customer
Noel Riley Fitch's biography of Julia Child introduces us to a very complex, interesting and compassionate woman. What we learn in the bio is that Julia's passion for living and learning has been life long. Epstein's bitter, angry review of the book in The New Yorker magazine completely misses the point. When I want to find out about Julia's passion for food, I simply open one of her cookbooks and read it.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Appetite for facts 11 Nov 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Although I read this book with some enjoyment, I felt that a competent editor might have wielded the red pencil with a little more authority. If Julia and Paul gave a dinner, you felt that every name would be mentioned, and I almost gave up reading near the end with all the shenanigans at the California Institute. The book does, however, give a more rounded portrait of Paul Child than Bob Spitz's does, and the reader comes to realise that Julia Child was probably more the creation of that talented and frustrated artist than she was by her own efforts.
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