Down and Out in Paradise: The Life of Anthony Bourdain

S. & S. Audio. Nov. 2022. 8:40 hrs. ISBN 9781797145617. $19.99. BIOG
The world was shocked by the 2018 suicide of celebrity chef and travel show host Anthony Bourdain. Leerhsen’s (Ty Cobb: A Terrible Beauty) latest considers the man with a perfect job, international reputation, and a young daughter vs. the thoughts and feelings that might have led him to end his life. Narrated with solemnity and drive by Vikas Adam, the book starts with a chronicle of “Tony’s” adolescence and early adulthood. Adam channels Leerhsen’s intensely honest approach, portraying Bourdain as an upper-class suburban Jersey boy who struggled with career choices until he worked at a Cape Cod restaurant one summer. He attended the Culinary Institute of America and worked in a string of Manhattan restaurants. The publication of Kitchen Confidential set him on the road to hosting several television shows, including CNN’s Parts Unknown. He had two failed marriages and a stormy relationship with Italian actress Asia Argento. Bourdain appears to have been an enigma—kind, generous, outgoing, and well spoken, but also moody, unpredictable, controversial, and self-destructive. While Leerhsen provides excerpts of interviews, emails, and texts from Bourdain’s friends and lovers, listeners may be disappointed at the lack of new information.
VERDICT Interest in Bourdain continues to be high; expect this audiobook to be popular among library patrons.
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