"A candid new book explores Anthony Bourdain’s trials. . . . [A] gritty, well-researched new biography."
– The Economist
"An unvarnished account of a turbulent life. . . . Grittier than anything we've read about him before. . . . [Leerhsen] is not here, though, to discredit or dismiss his subject. His admiration for Bourdain is nearly always apparent. . . .[Bourdain] would have admired the author’s guts."
– Dwight Garner, The New York Times
"This isn’t an official Bourdain product or a hagiography. . . . This one is thoroughly researched and painstakingly detailed."
– Kara Baskin, Boston Globe
"Seeing what the chef, writer and TV host saw on his last day alive in 2018 is only part of Leerhsen’s exhaustive research for the book. . . . The impressionistic portrait that emerges is of a complex man who combined swagger and spiky cool with deep insecurity, neediness and image-consciousness. . . . [An] unvarnished biography."
– Mark Kennedy, Associated Press
“Filled with fresh, intimate details, including raw, anguished texts from the days before Mr. Bourdain’s death. . . . Drawing on more than 80 interviews, and files, texts and emails from Mr. Bourdain’s phone and laptop, the journalist Charles Leerhsen traces Mr. Bourdain’s metamorphosis from a sullen teenager in a New Jersey suburb . . . [to] a uniquely talented interpreter of the world through his travels.”
– Kim Severson, The New York Times
“Peels back the veneer of the Bourdain brand. . . . Leerhsen shares salacious details, but with an air of respect toward his much-beloved subject. . . . Bourdain’s life reads like a cautionary tale of a man who wished for something—and got it. . . . The world is better for his work, but at such a devastating price."
"With zesty verve and material from more than 80 interviews, the author dramatically unfolds an entertaining, ultimately tragic tale. . . A chatty, quick-witted portrait of a complicated, tormented man."
– Kirkus Reviews
"[A] well-researched, thoughtful examination of the late Bourdain. . . . Leerhsen’s page-turner provides a well-rounded portrait of Bourdain, acknowledging his many faults as well as his empathy, work ethic, and creativity."
– Library Journal
"A three-dimensional view of a man who cultivated authenticity while he was alive, relayed with similarly frank humor."
– Publishers Weekly
"Since Anthony Bourdain’s death in 2018, there have been a handful of books by and about him. . . . But there has yet to be a true biography of the late chef. The first one, carefully researched but 'definitely unauthorized,' [comes] from Leerhsen. . . . Based on interviews with those who knew Bourdain best, Leerhsen will contextualize Bourdain’s on-screen charisma and off-screen despair by revealing childhood traumas that shaped the man who was revered by some, feared by others and loved by all."