Home Feed
Add Review, Blurb, Quote
Bourdain: The Definitive Oral Biography | Laurie Woolever
17 posts | 10 read | 15 to read
An unprecedented behind-the-scenes view into the life of Anthony Bourdain from the people who knew him best When Anthony Bourdain died in June 2018, fans around the globe came together to celebrate the life of an inimitable man who had dedicated his life to traveling nearly everywhere (and eating nearly everything), shedding light on the lives and stories of others. His impact was outsized and his legacy has only grown since his death. Now, for the first time, we have been granted a look into Bourdain's life through the stories and recollections of his closest friends and colleagues. Laurie Woolever, Bourdain's longtime assistant and confidante, interviewed nearly a hundred of the people who shared Tony's orbit--from members of his kitchen crews to his writing, publishing, and television partners, to his daughter and his closest friends--in order to piece together a remarkably full, vivid, and nuanced vision of Tony's life and work. From his childhood and teenage days, to his early years in New York, through the genesis of his game-changing memoir Kitchen Confidential to his emergence as a writing and television personality, and in the words of friends and colleagues including Eric Ripert, Jos Andrs, Nigella Lawson, and W. Kamau Bell, as well as family members including his brother and his late mother, we see the many sides of Tony--his motivations, his ambivalence, his vulnerability, his blind spots, and his brilliance. Unparalleled in scope and deeply intimate in its execution, with a treasure trove of photos from Tony's life, Bourdain: The Definitive Oral Biography is a testament to the life of a remarkable man in the words of the people who shared his world.
Amazon Indiebound Barnes and Noble WorldCat Goodreads LibraryThing
Pick icon
post image

I loved his shows, loved his writing for years and reading this book was just the closure I needed as a fan - to really appreciate him in a more nuanced way, to see the human frailty as well as the rockstar brilliance. I like the way the book is structured, so many interviews have been woven together so you get snippets from each person describing a particular day or an aspect of Tony‘s life.⬇️

Centique You see when they‘re consistent and when they‘re inconsistent. I wouldn‘t recommend this if you‘re not a fan of his work, but for me it‘s so affecting, a completely biased ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 2w
Megabooks 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 2w
TheBookHippie I felt the same way. 2w
See All 7 Comments
Smrloomis This looks good, thanks for posting it. I saw the recent documentary about him and thought it was really well done, if you haven‘t seen it already. 2w
Centique @Smrloomis I haven‘t seen it. Is it on Netflix? I‘ll look it up. Thanks! 2w
Centique @TheBookHippie such a loss 😢 2w
Smrloomis No, it‘s not on Netflix (at least where I live). Maybe HBO or Amazon? Definitely worth looking for! 2w
81 likes3 stack adds7 comments
post image

One of my favorite audiobooks of the year, this was my favorite book for October @Andrew65 #12BooksOf2021
With a cast of over 50 voices this was truly an outstanding definitive oral biography

Andrew65 Sounds good. 3w
Cinfhen It was FANTASTIC @Andrew65 so well done 3w
80 likes1 stack add2 comments
post image

I'm such a huge fan and the world is definitely lesser without him in it. Lately I've been watching his shows and finding myself observing him more closely, as one of his friends put it " I don't know if all our detective work is going to figure out exactly what happened..or if it's even our business. "

Kayla.Adriena It's a heavy narrative the parts where they interview his daughter are particularly sweet, I'm glad her voice was the last one in the book; where she shares how she hopes people would remember him. 1mo
Leftcoastzen I felt his death more than that of other celebrities.He wanted all of us to be travelers not tourists.I read the book & loved it .His friends knew he was pulling away, but I‘ve been in that situation, no easy solutions.Enjoyed his wit , sarcasm, & world view . 1mo
Kayla.Adriena @Leftcoastzen I loved it too and am glad his assistant did this book. I had never heard of Asia Argento until reading this, I googled her and wonder if she wasn't considered to be interviewed because she has her own controversy outside of this relationship. 1mo
21 likes3 comments
post image

"Around that same time, our grandmother did us the economic favor of dying. She left our dad a bunch of money...

I love the first essay/interview already ?

post image

Finally starting this! Perusing the contents , can't wait to get to "Middle Class White People Going to Poverty Stricken Parts of the World.. without being Dicks about it. " ?

22 likes1 stack add
post image

Wow, this audio TOTALLY CONSUMED ME. I am not an Anthony Bourdain super-fan by any means but that did not stop me from being completely riveted by this oral history. 91 voices from family members, friends and colleagues shared their memories and private thoughts about this very beloved yet flawed man.👇🏽

Cinfhen Whilst this could have been tantalizing, scandalous or sanitized what we got was a very real heartfelt encompassing picture of a magnetic man, creative mind and haunted individual. BEST audio of 2021 by far. 3mo
Cinfhen I do wonder if the author reached out to actress Asia Argento, who was definitely cast as the villain. It seems her side of the story is a huge hole in this otherwise perfect piece of commemorative oral history. 3mo
Kayla.Adriena I read a review of this a while back and I bought it, your review makes me want to get to it! I LOVED Anthony Bourdain 😢 3mo
See All 6 Comments
Cinfhen I hope you love it too @Kayla.Adriena - have tissues handy 3mo
Megabooks Agree!! This was 5⭐️ for me as well! Glad you enjoyed it. 3mo
Cinfhen Best audio NF of the year for me @Megabooks 3mo
75 likes2 stack adds6 comments
post image

I don‘t think there will ever come a time when I don‘t miss this man desperately. I had assumed it would take me a while to get through this just based on its size but I literally raced through it in less than 24 hours. I‘m curious how this would translate for someone with limited familiarity with Bourdain. I certainly found it insanely compelling but I feel somewhat biased. Rest well, Tony. ❤️

JenReadsAlot I feel the same way. I just watched the movie Roadrunner and cried my eyes out 😢 3mo
MicheleinPhilly @JenReadsAlot I haven‘t watched that yet but from what I know of it, it‘s some of the same ground covered here by the same people. 3mo
Leftcoastzen He had something special. I‘m reading it too . I don‘t recall ever feeling the sense of loss as keenly for someone I don‘t even know . Still not over it . 3mo
TrishB I not only have limited familiarity, I didn‘t know who he was when everyone on here posted. Don‘t hate me!! 3mo
58 likes4 comments
post image

Fascinating look at Tony from people who knew him at every stage of life. I learned much about the man behind the shows. There seemed to be a stark difference between his pre-fame and post-fame friends. He is every bit as smart as he seems, generous as well, but he could be petty and vindictive, too. In other words, human. Asia was roundly blamed for his death. I‘m not sure that‘s fair without giving her a say. The full-cast #audiobook is a must!

Megabooks I loved hearing from his daughter, and I‘m glad she got the last word. 💜 3mo
rachelk Interesting. That‘s about the same take I had after watching the film Roadrunner. 3mo
BarbaraBB I don‘t know him at all but he DOES sound human 🤍 3mo
See All 9 Comments
Cinfhen Sounds wonderful 3mo
Megabooks @rachelk I have not watched Roadrunner yet. 3mo
Megabooks @BarbaraBB I‘m kind of surprised you don‘t know him. He was famous worldwide. He was a food/travel journalist. His travel show was more about food, but when he moved to cnn, it became much more a journalism thing about people and places. (edited) 3mo
Megabooks @Cinfhen it was. I‘d definitely recommend the audiobook! 3mo
BarbaraBB I learned about him when he died and everyone here posted about him. Until then I had never heard of him but I hardly watch tv so that might be the reason? 3mo
Megabooks @BarbaraBB that‘s probably it. He published several books, but you don‘t read much nonfiction. He has a couple of novels, but I‘ve never read them. 3mo
84 likes3 stack adds9 comments
post image

Pic from my favorite episode of Parts Unknown — Quebec!

Those interviewed for the book alternated between saying Tony was a selfish narcissist and a truly kind and generous person. My guess is that both descriptions were true. Regardless, it was a sad ending for a talented and charming man. 😞

BkClubCare 😢 2w
29 likes1 stack add1 comment
post image

Born to be bad at B&N ! Hey , I did buy one gift !
(Not shown) just in case .😂🎁❤️

Ruthiella Nice haul! 😍 3mo
Cathythoughts Peter Swanson ❤️ 3mo
Leftcoastzen @Ruthiella thanks , I shouldn‘t have !😀 3mo
Leftcoastzen @Cathythoughts keep seeing Litsy raves , my 1st one. 3mo
61 likes4 comments
post image

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ This required a mulling period after completion. Like many fans, Bourdain‘s death hit me like no other celebrity‘s passing ever had. He was so accessible and relatable. If I could host a “famous people dinner party,” he‘d be at the top of the list. This oral biography includes numerous stories and voices from his life. It‘s a brutally honest and intimate; often beautiful, often sorrowful.

Leftcoastzen I want to read this , I feel the same about his passing, it still stings. 3mo
britt_brooke @Leftcoastzen It really does. 😢 3mo
Megabooks I‘m next at the library for this. Great review! 💜 thanks for the tag. 3mo
See All 14 Comments
britt_brooke @Megabooks It‘s a good one, but very tough at times. 💚 3mo
JenReadsAlot I agree - never felt a loss like this one 😢 3mo
KathyWheeler My only exposure to him was when I‘d see him as a judge on Top Chef, but still I found myself affected by his death, more so than by those of other celebrities. I may have to check this out. 3mo
britt_brooke @KathyWheeler I think this would still be enjoyable for you. Have you read Kitchen Confidential? It‘s such a great audiobook. I‘m thinking of listening to it again soon. 3mo
mrsmarch Anthony Bourdain and Alan Rickman — two celebrity deaths that still upset me. 💔 3mo
fredthemoose So glad you liked it! I appreciated how honest everyone was about his imperfections. To me it made all of their admiration more powerful. And I totally recommend re-listening to Kitchen Confidential! 3mo
britt_brooke @mrsmarch 😢😢 3mo
britt_brooke @fredthemoose Agree! I‘m planning to reread Kitchen Confidential hopefully this month. It‘ll be my 3 or 4th time through. I have a few library holds to tackle first. 😅 3mo
KathyWheeler @britt_brooke I have not. I‘ll check out the audiobook. 3mo
Cinfhen Stacked!!! 3mo
100 likes5 stack adds14 comments
post image

🎧🐾 Champ is such a good little/big (he‘s 75lbs now) sidekick. He was on high squirrel alert this morning. 🐿

PS. This book is ripping my heart out.

#audiowalk #dogsoflitsy

Soubhiville He‘s so gorgeous 🖤 4mo
candc320 Oh my god he‘s so cute!! 4mo
Megabooks It must be squirrel time around here too. Molly‘s trying to hunt them! 4mo
See All 10 Comments
britt_brooke @Soubhiville Thank you! 4mo
britt_brooke @candc320 Thank you! 4mo
britt_brooke @Megabooks They are suddenly super active around here - little bushy tails everywhere! 😂 4mo
LeahBergen Johnny loses his little mind over our neighbourhood squirrels. 😆 4mo
britt_brooke @LeahBergen Too funny! 4mo
SamAnne Yeah, trigger word with my border collie….now he knows how to spell it too! 4mo
britt_brooke @SamAnne Hilarious! 4mo
122 likes1 stack add10 comments
post image

Today's mail. Still can't believe he's gone. 💔

Kimberlone Watched the documentary a few weeks ago, I was surprised that I didn‘t cry as much as I thought I would. Definitely want to read this. Have been a fan of his shows for years and read Kitchen Confidential and Medium Raw. 4mo
AutumnRLS I struggled at the end of the documentary. I hate crying in public. I thought it was beautifully put together. I'm looking forward to hearing from more voices regarding his life. 4mo
11 likes3 comments
post image

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ This is a beautiful biography of/tribute to Anthony Bourdain in the form of snippets of interviews with dozens of family members, friends, and colleagues who knew him throughout his life. There is so much love, respect, and admiration, but also honesty about his faults and shortcomings. A must-read if you are a fan of Bourdain and his work. I‘m not sure if it will be as compelling to less invested readers.

JenReadsAlot Got my copy yesterday! 4mo
fredthemoose @JenReadsAlot Yay! I hope you enjoy it! 4mo
britt_brooke Really looking forward to this one! 4mo
fredthemoose @britt_brooke I hope you love it! The audiobook was like listening to friends talking about someone they love, including giving him a hard time. It didn‘t feel like a book at all. And there were people from Kitchen Confidential! 4mo
britt_brooke @fredthemoose Thanks - I‘m going to start it this weekend! 4mo
26 likes5 comments
post image


Oh, I'm gonna need to pick this one up. The excerpt reads like you're hanging out with everyone who was ever Bourdain's friend, and they're all telling stories about him.

fredthemoose I started the audiobook last night and it‘s great, especially if you‘re a Kitchen Confidential fan. 4mo
esurient @fredthemoose Awesome! 4mo
8 likes2 comments
post image

#bookmail I still miss this man...

Gaylagal2 Me too!❤️I'm a huge fan. 4mo
Trashcanman Me too. 4mo
29 likes2 comments
post image

Oooh—just saw this in a Goodreads email and can‘t wait to dig in to the audiobook. I loved Kitchen Confidential and can‘t wait to (hopefully) hear what some of the people included there might have to say about Anthony Bourdain. @Megabooks have you seen this?

Megabooks Yes, I have but that you for reminding me to request it at the library!! 4mo
fredthemoose @Megabooks Oh fun! Thanks for the heads up!! 4mo
24 likes2 stack adds3 comments