A clarion call to men pushing 50 from "an optimistic pessimist."
In this memoir/essay collection, three-time Emmy Award winner (Everybody Loves Raymond) and first-time author Garrett urges readers to embrace the second half of life. “If you try to oversteer the inevitable course of life,” he writes, “you will ruin the journey.” In his characteristic anxiety-ridden and morose fashion, Garrett tells outrageous tales of his upbringing (at 15, he impersonated Jimmie Walker at a bar mitzvah, in blackface), his fledgling stand-up career, and reaching the pinnacle of success as a Las Vegas headliner and with a role on a long-running sitcom. Much of Garrett's stage act consists of mocking others, which he defends as noninjurious and ultimately good-natured—what he admires most in renowned, veteran insult comic Don Rickles—since he is so self-deprecating. However, because he isn't particularly clever or nearly as incisive as other aggressive comedians, such as George Carlin or Joan Rivers, he occasionally comes across as an angry jerk. A drastic tonal change emerges midway through when he describes the helplessness of men in romantic relationships. He isn't sardonic or wise but rather resentful and sometimes mean-spirited. Eventually, though, Garrett's anger dissipates and his unaffected humor emerges in his storytelling—e.g., when he recounts his preposterous attempt at folding his massive frame into the sports car that represented his midlife crisis. He also chronicles how he tried to break his Bernese mountain dog of a particularly nasty habit, and when describing his Jewish father's religious conversion (an old lobster tank served as a baptismal font), his tone is exasperated yet warm.
Garrett's celebrity status and comic take on the second half of life will draw readers in, but his occasionally hateful diatribes might put some of them off.