But for whatever reason, when it came to the remarkable Julia Child biography by Bob Spitz called Dearie, which just happens to weigh in at a whomping 534 pages, I took my sweet, sweet time—two months, in fact.
I read it while waiting in the reception area at the dentist's office. I read it before I dozed off to sleep every night. I even read it during those rare free moments when I wasn't up against a deadline while sipping my first pumpkin spice lattes (I'm sure Julia would've approved) of the season.
And given that Spitz is such a terrific writer and Julia such a fascinating, lovable subject, well, it was the sort of reading experience you never wanted to end. In short, Dearie was easily one of my favorite books this year, and perhaps, one of the best biographies I've ever read, hands down.
In a world where everyone's so eager to conform, it's downright refreshing to read about a woman who really did things "her way" (cue the famed Frank Sinatra song). Not only did she live out her life's passion to the ripe ol' age of 92, but her illustrious career in French cooking didn't even begin until she was in her 40s. Yes, I was reminded once again that life's grandest chapters aren't limited to what happens before you're 30, and that it's never, ever too late to try something totally new.
In addition to hearing about her love of French food and cooking in greater depth, the reader also gets a front-row seat into her long, loving marriage with Paul Child, her various travels before—and after—she became a household name since she moved around frequently when doing government work and the details of her comfortable surburban upbringing that ultimately made her hungry to pursue something a little more left of center with her life.
And unlike many biographies where the author is clearly so infatuated with his/her subject that we don't have an opportunity to learn about their flaws as well as their triumphs, Dearie is a warts-and-all look at Julia. Like most people, she was complicated and not always the strong, self-assured and approachable presence she was on TV. Plus, I discovered she doesn't even (gasp!) like Italian food, so that's something we would've majorly disagreed on (ha ha!).
All in all, it was a joy just hangin' out with Julia for two straight months. I could practically hear the trill of her oh-so-unique voice as we walked through her colorful life. And in the same way I couldn't stop thinking of Paris after reading Hemingway's A Moveable Feast, I'm already pining for a return trip to the Paris that Julia loved so much—if anything, just to eat sole meuniere again, the rich, buttery masterpiece that forever changed the course of her life.