Our First Book Review Comp Winner
Here is her book review for February, with the theme of ‘Laugh’:
Never Have Your Dog Stuffed: And Other Things I’ve Learned by Alan Alda
The first thing I can tell you about this magnificent book is that I read it in a day. I walked out of Springwood Library a few weeks ago, jumped into my car, and thought, I’ll just read the first few pages and then I’ll do the grocery shopping.
An hour later I was still there, and not only was I laughing loudly, I was hooked.
My younger years of TV viewing featured many episodes of MASH. It was the one show the whole family would stop for. My Dad would be moved, and I remember the solemnity with which he would sigh, turn off the TV, and sometimes wipe a tear from his eye. Other times, we would be laughing riotously. I was a bookworm from a tiny age, and I remember it as the first time I understood that good storytelling could be found in more than just books.
So I approached this book happily, ready for whatever Alan had to tell me. After all, Alda wrote many episodes of MASH, and famously directed the final episode “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen”. He knew his stuff. And I was keen to understand more about him too.
What I found was a wonderful, crazy tale of childhood, cosmology and the story of putting focus and discipline to your dreams.
His style is witty, precise and engaging. It is also honest to its core. The quirky humour throughout is what really makes the book sing, and painful moments are lifted through laughing. It also has the best first paragraph I can remember reading in a long time, which is, “My Mother didn’t try and stab my father til I was six.”
Alda spent his early years travelling like a gypsy with his parents, who would perform burlesque and comedy shows all over America. The sometimes difficult dynamic he shares with his parents shapes him for the rest of his life. Alda particularly opens up to talk about his mother’s struggle with schizophrenia, and the challenges they all faced living with it.
There is no celebrity gossip, cheap starstruck references or glitz in this book. Instead you can expect genuine human stories and relationships. The remarkable story of his life-threatening illness whilst in Chile is gripping. Describing this time, he remarks, “I am in and out of consciousness, but I never take a break from the screaming. The show must go on.” A trademark quirky sense of humour pervades.
If you haven’t read this book, treat yourself today. Its great fun and a fascinating read. I can promise you will laugh, and then you will wish the book was twice as long. I definitely did. – Kel Watson
If you would like to enter the competition for this month, there is still time. Here are the details:
Please email your 400 – 600 word review of a fiction or non-fiction book, with theme of ‘Think’, to email@example.com or hand in a hard-copy to your local library branch. The due date for March entries is Friday 30th March, and is only open to patrons over 16 years of age.
April’s theme is ‘Feel’ and the due date for entries is 27th April.
Posted on March 21, 2012, in Book Review, Competitions, Libraries, Love2Read, National Year of Reading and tagged Book Review, book review competition, Love2Read, National Year of Reading. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off.