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Extended Audio Sample Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child Audiobook, by Bob Spitz Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,942 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Bob Spitz Narrator: Kimberly Farr Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2012 ISBN: 9780449012888
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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 television cookery became an iconic cult figure and joyous rule-breaker as she touched off the food revolution that has gripped America for more than fifty years.

Now, in Bob Spitz’s definitive, wonderfully affectionate biography, the Julia we know and love comes vividly , and surprisingly, to life. In Dearie, Spitz employs the same skill he brought to his best-selling, critically acclaimed book The Beatles,providing a clear-eyed portrait of one of the most fascinating and influential Americans of our time, a woman known to all, yet known by only a few.

At its heart, Dearie is a story about a woman’s search for her own unique expression. Julia Child was a directionless, gawky young woman who ran off halfway around the world to join a spy agency during World War II. She eventually settled in Paris, where she learned to cook and collaborated on the writing of what would become Mastering the Art of French Cooking, a book that changed the food culture of America. She was already fifty when The French Chef went on the air, at a time in our history when women weren’t making those leaps. Julia became the first educational television star, virtually launching PBS as we know it today; her marriage to Paul Child formed a decades-long love story that was romantic, touching, and quite extraordinary.

A fearless, ambitious, supremely confident woman, Julia took on all the pretensions that embellished tony French cuisine and fricasseed them to a fare-thee-well, paving the way for everything that has happened since in American cooking, from TV dinners and Big Macs to sea urchin foam and the Food Channel. Julia Child’s story, however, is more than the tale of a talented woman and her sumptuous craft. It is also a saga of America’s coming of age and growing sophistication, from the Depression Era to the turbulent sixties and the excesses of the eighties to the greening of the American kitchen. Julia had an effect on and was equally affected by the baby boom, the sexual revolution, and the start of the women’s liberation movement.

On the centenary of her birth, Julia finally gets the biography she richly deserves.  An in-depth, intimate narrative, full of fresh information and insights, Dearie is an entertaining, all-out adventure story of one of our most fascinating and beloved figures.

Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • The most engaging celebrity biography we’ve read in years . . . Spitz manages to convey the vigor, curiosity, confidence and booming voice of a truly remarkable woman as if she is sitting at the kitchen table with you. . . Spitz is a fantastic writer. LA Weekly
  • A much-appreciated, well timed gift to us all . . . Julia has never been more alive in the hearts and minds of those who grew up with her and drank her dreams. The Huffington Post
  • In what is by far the most substantial new book on Child, Bob Spitz draws a lively, affectionately detailed portrait . . . [with] the kind of language, slangy and salty, that Child would have enjoyed and might have used herself. Wall Street Journal 

  • "Spitz gives us plenty of the wacky one-liners that endeared Child to her television audience, and a warm, nuanced portrait. But his bigger achievement is in setting her career against the most significant movements of the 20th century, from McCarthyism to the sexual revolution to the greening of America. He reveals how she helped redefine domesticity in the media age, transforming the way we cook, eat and think about food. . . A consideration not only of her life but of her place in 20th century American history, the book makes a strong case for Child as a 'cultural guerrilla' on par with Andy Warhol, Bob Dylan and Helen Gurley Brown. Newsday

  • “After wiping your drool off the page, you might wonder where Spitz uncovered such narrative gold . . . Author and subject almost become one, as Spitz channels the spirit of Child in his own words. . . His detailed research into mid-century American cooking helps us understand why exactly Child was such a big deal Becky Krystal, Washington Post
  • “By far the most substantial new book on Child…A lively, affectionately detailed portrait.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • Spitz captures another side of [Julia’s] complex personality: her fierce diligence in mastering the science as well as the art of cooking through detailed experimentation and her concern to translate the preparation of complex French recipes for readers in America . . . An engrossing biography of a woman worthy of iconic status. Kirkus Review (starred) 
  • A rollicking biography that captures the vision, pluck and contagious exuberance that were the essence of Julia Child People Magazine 
  • In this affectionate and entertaining tribute to the witty, down-to-earth, bumptious, and passionate host of The French Chef, Spitz (The Beatles) exhaustively chronicles Child’s life and career from her childhood in California through her social butterfly flitting at Smith and her work for a Pasadena department store to her stint in government service, her marriage to Paul Child, and her rise to become America’s food darling with the publication of Mastering the Art of French Cooking and her many television shows. . . Released to coincide with Child’s centenary, Spitz’s delightful biography succeeds in being as big as its subject. Publishers Weekly (starred)
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  • A biography perfectly suited to its subject -- as lively, fascinating, and singular as Julia Child herself. Daniel Okrent, author of Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition
  • It’s a revelation. Lev Grossman, Time Magazine  
  • “A rollicking biography that captures the vision, pluck, and contagious exuberance that were the essence of Julia Child.”

    People

  • “A much-appreciated, well-timed gift to us all…Julia has never been more alive in the hearts and minds of those who grew up with her and ate and drank her dreams.”

    Huffington Post

  • “Those with a hunger for all things Julia have a substantial new biography by Bob Spitz to sink their teeth into…Author and subject almost become one, as Spitz channels the spirit of Child in his own words.”

    Washington Post

  • “An unabashed celebration of the mistress of haute cuisine.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “[Spitz] reveals how [Child] helped redefine domesticity in the media age, transforming the way we cook, eat, and think about food…The book makes a strong case for Child as a ‘cultural guerrilla’ on par with Andy Warhol, Bob Dylan, and Helen Gurley Brown.”

    Newsday

  • “[An] enthusiastic, heroically researched biography…Spitz goes beyond mere history and provides a full, human portrait of Julia.”

    Economist

  • “[A] mammoth, inspiring biography.”

    Washington Times

  • “A comprehensive and compelling biography…that also functions effectively as a history of twentieth-century American culture on topics ranging from the evolution of the O.S.S. to the quirks of public television.”

    Christian Science Monitor

  • “The most engaging celebrity biography we’ve read in years…Spitz manages to convey the vigor, curiosity, confidence, and booming voice of a truly remarkable woman as if she is sitting at the kitchen table with you…[He] is a fantastic writer.”

    L. A. Weekly

  • “This…almost sinfully good read should definitely be put high up on the gift list for the food lover in your life. Julia would love you for this.”

    Toronto Sun

  • “[Dearie] takes readers beyond the image of this tall, eccentric woman with a funny voice and establishes her as one of the most distinctive cultural individuals of the twentieth century.”

    Canadian Press

  • “A detailed, nuanced biography of television’s beloved ‘French Chef.’”

    Chicago Tribune

  • “A biography perfectly suited to its subject—as lively, fascinating, and singular as Julia Child herself.”

    Daniel Okrent, author of Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A USA Today Bestseller
  • One of the 2012 Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books: Biographies
  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award
  • A 2012 Time Magazine Best Book for Nonfiction
  • A 2012 NPR Best Book for Nonfiction
  • A 2012 Washington Post Notable Book for Nonfiction

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jan | 2/8/2014

    " It's Julia, what's not to love? I listened to the audiobook version and absolutely loved it. So much had already been covered but this book opened up new, other sides of Julia, her life and her culinary influences. Worth the read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Veronica Drew | 2/8/2014

    " Actually shed a tear in the last chapter. Very detailed and well researched account of Julia Child's life. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kathleen Walker | 2/4/2014

    " I loved every minute of this book. It was a little long but that is not the author's fault. After all, Julia did have a very long life. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Amanda | 2/2/2014

    " What an amazingly thorough look at Julia Child's life! This book seems to paint a very honest version of Julia Child based on accounts from family, close friends, and fellow chefs; also delving into her influence on cooking in the United States and her work to continue the education of others in the field of the culinary arts--what a remarkable life, indeed! Spitz's book was fantastic in its' ability to not only paint a picture of Julia Child, but also make you feel like she was someone you knew too! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Janice | 1/29/2014

    " Great biography of an American icon. I enjoyed listening to this book on Audible. The reader put so much life into this story that I felt compelled to find spaces and times to listen when I didn't really have the time. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kelly | 1/24/2014

    " My husband gave me this book, since he knows I love cooking & JC. Her story is an inspiring one without question; however, I question the author's objectivity. At times, Spitz seems to almost have a crush on his subject matter. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stephani | 1/24/2014

    " I really enjoyed this book. The book was very well-written and thought out, almost too thought out (that is why I couldn't give it 5 stars, it was really long and a few parts dragged on). I loved following Julia throughout her whole life. It was truly remarkable that she never really cooked and once she did decide too - it was not something that came easily, but as she practiced, practiced, and practiced until she had perfected the techniques. It was amazing how much she gave to her books and later to her TV shows - it was truly her passion and energized her through her entire life. I have always had a tremendous amount of respect for Julia Child and learning more about her life and how she changed food in America was very inspiring. I want to be a better chef! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marianne | 1/23/2014

    " I loved this book...I really enjoyed Julia Child. I thought it was a well-written biography w/lots of details. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Virginia | 1/13/2014

    " One of my favorite subjects and I just could not get into it. So dry... there are so many good books out there on Julia Child, many by herself, that are so much better. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Betty | 1/4/2014

    " I have read other books about Julia but this was the best one. She is a fascinating woman and did indeed have a remarkable life. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Patty | 11/30/2013

    " Loved it! What a life! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nisha Jafari | 11/19/2013

    " Could be a bit dry at times but a great story about her life and passion for cooking. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tari | 11/15/2013

    " An amazing story about an amazing woman. Bon appetit! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kira Epstein | 11/3/2013

    " What a wonderful book and one worthy of such a remarkable woman! I didn't want the book to end! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Liz | 10/30/2013

    " Lots to digest...not just about Julia's life, but also lots about history and her family. I enjoyed parts of the book but did feel like there were lots of unnecessary details included. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Christine Addison | 10/16/2013

    " This is a long, long, longgggg book but I LOVED every page! Fantastic detail and a true gem if Julia Child interests you. Highly recommend! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Angela Villalobos | 9/6/2013

    " So wonderfully written, it speaks well of Julia's spirit, struggles and hilarious personality. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cheryl | 7/3/2013

    " Absolutely loved it. Now collecting ALL hrt cookbooks. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Michelle Wolff | 4/7/2013

    " didn't like it, too bogged down in US history that while interesting did little to inform me about the woman herself. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Iluvbooks | 3/31/2013

    " Excellent!!! Excellent book!! Mr. Spitz writing is just wonderful. I never would have imagined that her life was so rich, and complex. I absolutely loved this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Margaret | 2/5/2013

    " She really was a remarkable woman with a very interesting life. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bill | 1/27/2013

    " What a woman! I cannot express how I enjoyed this biography of this giant on a personality. Like his subject, the book is gigantic, over 500 pages, but I enjoyed every word. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shelby Cuevas | 9/18/2012

    " What a character Julia Child was! "

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About the Author
Author Bob SpitzBOB SPITZ is the award-winning author of The Beatles, a New York Times bestseller, as well as seven other nonfiction books and a screenplay. He has represented the careers of 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.
About the Narrator

Kimberly Farr is an actress and eight-time winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award for narration. She has appeared on Broadway and at the New York Shakespeare Festival, the Roundabout Theatre, Playwright’s Horizons, and the American Place. She created the role of “Eve” in Arthur Miller’s first and only musical, Up from Paradise, which was directed by the author. She appeared with Vanessa Redgrave in the Broadway production of The Lady from the Sea and has acted in regional theaters across the country, including a performance in the original production of The 1940’s Radio Hour at Washington, DC’s Arena Stage.