HOW I GOT TO BE WHOEVER IT IS I AM by Charles Grodin

HOW I GOT TO BE WHOEVER IT IS I AM

BUY NOW FROM
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Like his radio commentaries for CBS News, this memoir from actor-director-writer-activist Grodin (I Like It Better When You’re Funny, 2002, etc.) offers kvetching in lieu of insight.

The author has plenty of material: getting hired and fired twice by Candid Camera; his longtime stint as a faux-malcontented guest for Johnny Carson; his frequent film and stage work (Midnight Run, The Heartbreak Kid, Rosemary’s Baby, etc.); his gigs as a commentator on 60 Minutes II and as a cable-TV talk-show host. Unfortunately, heartfelt reminiscences of such past and present friends as Herb Gardner, Peter Falk, Ellen Burstyn and Elaine May are undercut by Grodin’s tiresome testimonials to his own acting skill, intelligence and humanitarianism. From grade school to today, he cites a single cause for his clashes with teachers, directors and TV executives: “doing something that no one else was doing…asking questions.” When not relating incidents in his life, Grodin inveighs against such petty annoyances as Hollywood producers, Manhattan co-op boards, the urban legend that he turned down The Graduate, even a basketball coach at his son’s school. He frequently sounds like Andy Rooney–lite: “I honestly don’t look down on how anyone dresses, as long as they’re properly covered.” Chapters run about as long as Grodin’s broadcast musings and are equally colloquial in tone. In substance he ranges from superficial to maddeningly enigmatic—e.g., calling acting coach Lee Strasberg and Woody Allen, without elaboration, “the two most socially uncomfortable people I’ve ever met.”

Grodin’s considerable talent is dwarfed here by his self-regard.

Pub Date: April 9th, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-446-51940-3
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Springboard Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2009




MORE BY CHARLES GRODIN

NonfictionI LIKE IT BETTER WHEN YOU’RE FUNNY by Charles Grodin
by Charles Grodin
NonfictionWE'RE READY FOR YOU, MR. GRODIN by Charles Grodin
by Charles Grodin
NonfictionHOW I GET THROUGH LIFE by Charles Grodin
by Charles Grodin