Book reviews from The Free Lance-Star.
Julia, from childhood to success
By Lindley Estes
The Free Lance-Star
JULIA CHILD was just as aimless and confused about her future as
Bob Spitz, author of the new Child biography “Dearie,” wrote about her early life, “Julia had shown no previous evidence of accomplishment, not for work not for exploring her potential. Julia lamented, ‘I never had any brilliance whatsoever.’”
Spitz’s biography shows Child not only as the woman who made authentic French cooking accessible to housewives, but a more complicated figure who wandered rather than strove toward her fame.
The real gems of the book are in the surprising details that reinforce Child as the television persona-less woman who messed up a potato pancake flip on air and told audiences, “You can always pick it up if you’re alone in the kitchen.”
The book begins with her childhood in Pasadena and continues through her time at Smith College, then in the OSS, eventually going to France, and her stint at Le Cordon Bleu and the publication of “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.”
Spitz offers a more complete picture of the enigmatic chef, showing why she was able to relate to American audiences and change their ideas about cooking.
Though it takes a while to pick up momentum, once it does “Dearie” is well worth reading to discover the little-known aspects of Child and to realize that even she once lacked direction.
Lindley Estes is a reporter for The Free Lance–Star.
DEARIE: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child
By Bob Spitz
(Knopf, $29.95, 576 pp.)
1. Be respectful. No personal attacks.
2. Please avoid offensive, vulgar, abusive, hateful or defamatory language.
3. Read and follow THE RULES.
4. Please notify us by flagging posts that are inappropriate.
Posts that include links, and posts from users with unverified e-mail addresses may take longer to appear.