Sweet memoir of Lucille Ball by a writer she befriended in her last year and who played backgammon with her nearly every day. Brochu, an intense Lucy fan, demanded at age seven to be taken to see her on stage in Wildcat. His fervor never dimmed, and at 40 he wrote a comedy he thought perfect for her and sent it to her. She was taken by the play, invited him over for lemonade, but told him she did not want to be in it. Did he play backgammon? He did. They did. Lucy was a backgammon fanatic, invited him back the next day, and the next, and he kept coming back every afternoon for eight months. During his recital of those clays together, Brochu works in a bio of Lucy that is easy to take despite the overfamiliarity of much of it. It goes down okay because much of it is attributed to Lucy answering his questions over backgammon. Lucy left her home in Jamestown, N.Y., at 15 and was Broadway-bound. The rest is history: her modeling for Hattie Carnegie, which led to Hollywood, a slow rise to stardom, the meeting with Desi and his courtship, his macho need for other women, his drinking, the dip in his career in 1950 that led to her getting him a slot in her upcoming I Love Lucy show, and so on. More choice are items about her favorite episodes of the three Lucy series; her teaming with Orson Welles, Carol Burnett, Joan Crawford, and others; visits with neighbor Jack Benny; Brochu going out to restaurants with Lucy and their husband Gary, attending benefits, etc. The Final days are quite moving, especially when Lucy is preparing to go home to Jamestown Community College to receive an honorary doctorate--and dies instead. She comes back in a dream and when Brochu asks her why she died, she says, ""I didn't want to go to Buffalo"" (Jamestown's nearest big city). No big deal, but a sure audience pleaser.