Kirkus Reviews QR Code


Tales of Anxiety and Accidental Glamour

by Jack Gray

Pub Date: Feb. 19th, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-4516-4134-9
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

An Emmy Award–winning CNN producer shares an occasionally humorous peek into his star-studded, behind-the-scenes life in broadcasting.

“If a bird can adapt and succeed in the big, complicated city,” writes Anderson Cooper 360 producer Gray after observing a pigeon cross a busy street, “I can, too.” The author chronicles his career from its early beginnings in small-town New Hampshire, where, armed with a camcorder, he recruited his 8-year-old sister and great-grandmother for his own nightly news show. Since then, Gray has booked the likes of powerhouse notables Condoleezza Rice, John Kerry and Mitt Romney, and he's witnessed the “glorious chaos” of the political arena. He's also become best buds with Kathy Griffin and Soleil Moon Frye. As with all good works of celebrity gossip, Kim Kardashian makes a brief appearance in these essays. Although the relentless scatological humor and cheap shots at celebrities who've made it on his hit list are no doubt intended to be funny, the comedy is often lost in Gray's cynical, heavy-handed snark. Gray is at his best when he steers clear of secondhand glamour, instead focusing on his family or shining a spotlight on the shortcomings of the contemporary news-media industry. The author writes eloquently and insightfully of the rapidly changing cable-news scene and its “real-time insanity,” while simple stories of his dog, grandparents and coming out to his family are honest and tender. Play-by-play accounts of buying donuts with Griffin in the middle of the night, however, have more in common with the kind of Twitter drivel Gray lambastes.

A small-town-kid-in-a-big-city memoir that mostly shines with borrowed star power but glows every now and then with its own candor and heart.