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Renowned comedy writer/director Reiner delivers a light, charming, semi-autobiographical novel about a young comedian finding his way during WW II. Picking up where Enter Laughing (1958) left off, Reiner brings back David Kokolovitz, a smart-alecky-but-nice Jewish boy from the Bronx who longs to be an actor. While working full-time at an industrial sewing-machine firm and acting at night in a mostly amateur theater group, David auditions for a Shakespearean repertory company about to set off on tour. When the unworldly 18-year-old is accepted, he has no qualms about leaving his overbearing family, his clinging girlfriend, and her Mrs. Robinson-like mother. The troupe sets off for the Deep South, providing opportunities for plenty of funny sketches about life on the road with a supporting cast of fellow thespians of varying abilities. Foremost among them is Mary Deare, a southern belle with whom David falls in love after seeing her perform in The Comedy of Errors. Mary takes David to the plantation to meet her family but neglects to mention that he's Jewish; her father proceeds to read aloud from his favorite book--Mein Kampf. While touring, David realizes that he gets more applause when he hams it up, inventing Shakespearian puns to cover forgotten lines. Later, drafted and stationed in Hawaii, he uses his ad-libbing skills to work his way into the Special Services, where he becomes an MC and stand-up comic, performing for the toughest of crowds from Iwo Jima to Mog Mog. By the end of the war, David finally believes that he just might be able to make a career out of comedy. Little more than a string of amusing anecdotes, Reiner's nostalgic coming-of-ager is smoothly entertaining reading.

Pub Date: July 1st, 1995
ISBN: 000345620X
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Carol