In the Weeds takes readers behind the scenes to reveal not just the insanity that went into filming in some of the most far-flung and volatile parts of the world, but what Anthony Bourdain was like unedited and off-camera. From the outside, the job looked like an all-expenses-paid adventure to places like Borneo, Vietnam, Iran, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Libya. What happened off-camera was far more interesting than what made it to air. The more things went wrong, the better it was for the show. Fortunately, everything fell apart constantly.
[In the Weeds] s a fast-flying, deep-diving, funny, loving, tender, joyful, painful, jolting, twisted, tumultuous and shockingly wild ride. Reader: Hold on tightly ... Vitale’s relationship with Bourdain, a beloved yet very complicated man, fuels this engrossing travelogue’s engine ... In the Weeds explores the tightrope of personal and professional longings and expectations; the complexities of borders and the people within them; the ache for mutual trust and the ache of distrust; the multiple meanings of home and family and friendship; the allure and intensity of lust and seduction ... Bourdain’s fans will find plenty to savor, think about and discuss. This is Vitale’s memoir, his singular account. Stones are lifted. Curtains are pushed back. An engaging narrative is woven. Vitale opens his heart and veins to create powerful, poignant, passionate prose. A page-turner, indeed.
Vitale’s storytelling is, in a word, frenetic. The sometimes disorganized stories he tells criss-cross countries and are loosely organized in thematic chapters that cover the moods of an entire shoot ... In the Weeds is also a revealing snapshot of what a television director has to do behind the lens to turn raw, unpolished travel footage into a glittering Emmy-winning gem ... In the Weeds is emotionally exhausting, exhilarating, and fascinating, and at under 300 pages, it’s not a long read, but the most intense I’ve had in ages. And all I hope now is that Vitale finally got a long stretch of rest, because god damn, making TV with a legend sounds harder than I could have ever imagined, in every way possible.
The stories Vitale has to tell are incredible ... It is engrossing reading material, until you remember we’re talking about actual people who created television for our viewing pleasure. But that is the trouble that becomes inescapable amongst all this posthumous Bourdain content; he was real and the people around him were too.