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HELLO DARLIN’

TALL (AND ABSOLUTELY TRUE) TALES ABOUT MY LIFE

Sheer charm.

Texas-born Hagman, the son of Mary Martin of Peter Pan fame, tells of his life, loves, and liver.

Hagman, often farmed out to nannies and various schools, saw little of his mother after his first year. She’d married at 16, had him at 17, then opened a dancing school, traipsed off to Hollywood, won a Broadway role, and became famous for her strip-tease to “My Heart Belongs to Daddy.” His brawny, hard-drinking lawyer dad tried to toughen him up, took him hunting with the old boys and cases of bourbon, tried to get him laid in a Mexican cathouse. Mother Mary remarried, but Larry couldn’t stand his stepfather. Father Hagman wanted him to be a lawyer and take over his Texas law firm, but Larry opted for acting. Later, his mother got him into Margot Jones’s prestigious theater group in Dallas. Says Hagman: “A lot of people criticize nepotism, but hell, it worked for me.” He quits college and takes up with Margaret Webster’s Shakespeare troupe. He works in musicals in St. Petersburg, Florida, then his mother gets him a small part in South Pacific, her big show. In England, in the Air Force, he mounts shows and tours them about military bases, dates 17-year-old Joan Collins. Later, he lands the part of Tony Nelson, an astronaut whose space capsule lands on an island where he finds a bottle containing a 2,000-year-old genie named Jeannie—and this becomes the long-running TV comedy I Dream of Jeannie. At 34, he crashes from quitting amphetamines and tobacco at once, but soon tries LSD, which he praises for its spiritual visions and lasting insights. The memoir’s highlights are about his role in Dallas and his refusing to tell even the Queen of England who shot J.R. Although he gives up alcohol at 62, his drinking leads to a cirrhotic liver and a transplant, which brings its own visions of the life force.

Sheer charm.

Pub Date: Nov. 9, 2001

ISBN: 0-7432-2181-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

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NIGHT

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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INTO THE WILD

A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor...

The excruciating story of a young man on a quest for knowledge and experience, a search that eventually cooked his goose, told with the flair of a seasoned investigative reporter by Outside magazine contributing editor Krakauer (Eiger Dreams, 1990). 

Chris McCandless loved the road, the unadorned life, the Tolstoyan call to asceticism. After graduating college, he took off on another of his long destinationless journeys, this time cutting all contact with his family and changing his name to Alex Supertramp. He was a gent of strong opinions, and he shared them with those he met: "You must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life''; "be nomadic.'' Ultimately, in 1992, his terms got him into mortal trouble when he ran up against something—the Alaskan wild—that didn't give a hoot about Supertramp's worldview; his decomposed corpse was found 16 weeks after he entered the bush. Many people felt McCandless was just a hubris-laden jerk with a death wish (he had discarded his map before going into the wild and brought no food but a bag of rice). Krakauer thought not. Admitting an interest that bordered on obsession, he dug deep into McCandless's life. He found a willful, reckless, moody boyhood; an ugly little secret that sundered the relationship between father and son; a moral absolutism that agitated the young man's soul and drove him to extremes; but he was no more a nutcase than other pilgrims. Writing in supple, electric prose, Krakauer tries to make sense of McCandless (while scrupulously avoiding off-the-rack psychoanalysis): his risky behavior and the rites associated with it, his asceticism, his love of wide open spaces, the flights of his soul.

A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor will it to readers of Krakauer's narrative. (4 maps) (First printing of 35,000; author tour)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-679-42850-X

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Villard

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1995

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