Dead Men’s Memoirs: Belated Halloween Thoughts on Anthony Bourdain

I didn’t realize how much Anthony Bourdain meant to me. He always seemed like a monument of heart and stone, providing comfort and adventure. Anthony’s suicide came as shock. That was a bad day because I couldn’t believe it. I wouldn’t believe it. Anthony had a loving daughter. He had people that cared about him, and who he cared for in turn. On the surface, he seemed successful. CNN loved him. The audience loved him. And his family loved him.

With all this, it feels surreal to read Anthony’s memoir Medium Raw. I had searched the library for copies of his writings to find answers. Medium Raw shows snippets from his life, from vacationing with an abusive ex to getting fired from the Food Network. Are there signs that Anthony was suicidal? Sadly, yes. He told freely of his time as a drug addict, and how he would flirt with death while driving drunk. At the same time, he claimed that he had no reason to have psychological problems because his parents were decent parents and he wanted for nothing, even when washing dishes. It’s like reading a letter from the dead, and it can make a person wince a lot. We have the benefit of hindsight, and awareness of mental health issues.

We could say the same about any historical figure that writes a memoir, but this feels different. Historians can vet if Agatha Christie remembered her disappearance, or if Virginia Woolf battled mental illness while writing. Anthony only died this year. Trying to go through his papers and letters to determine his state of mine would be insulting to his family. They deserve the time to grieve, and to not have to open his character and soul to analysis.

Reading Medium Raw gives a glimpse into Anthony’s personality. He had a dark sense of humor about life, but sincerity about his love for good food and his family. We get his opinions on who he considers the “best” and “worst” chefs, and how to get his daughter to stop liking fast foods.

I hope everyone reading this blog knows that they are loved. You have people who care about you. I care about you. November is a rough month with exams or the end of the year. Stay calm, carry on, and if you need help, try to get it. We would miss you if anything happened. Lots of love, and good night.

 

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