In the Weeds: Around the World and Behind the Scenes with Anthony Bourdain

Hachette. Oct. 2021. 288p. ISBN 9780306924095. $30. COOKING
Vitale (longtime director and producer for Anthony Bourdain’s television shows, including No Reservations and Parts Unknown) revisits the misadventures of filming a travel show and grapples with Bourdain’s 2018 death. He uses stories of over 80 trips to film across the globe (in Libya, Iran, Vietnam, Borneo, Congo) as a backdrop to examine his professional and personal relationship with Bourdain. Vitale is an engaging and self-aware storyteller, who writes and structures this memoir in the style of the immersive documentary television he’s known for. The timeline jumps back and forth between distinct memories of Bourdain and Vitale’s attempts to process his emotions in the present. In a fitting nod to the ethos of No Reservations, Parts Unknown, and Bourdain himself, Vitale’s book is ultimately about the people who shared in these experiences. Readers interested in memoirs that fuse grief and adventure may also enjoy Alexandra Fuller’s Travel Light, Move Fast.
VERDICT This adventurous and candid account is a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at Bourdain’s work and an honest story about persisting in the wake of loss. It will resonate with many readers as a travel and entertainment memoir, exploration of grief, and tribute to a beloved figure.
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