DON'T TELL DAD by Peter Fonda

DON'T TELL DAD

A Memoir
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A tell-all-and-then-some from the original Captain America. Fonda has been up and down the ladder of fame, from B movies with Roger Corman to the massive hit Easy Rider and back to B movies (albeit with filmmakers much less talented than Corman). With the success of last year’s Ulee’s Gold, directed by the talented independent filmmaker Victor Nu§ez, Fonda’s acting career is apparently revivified, which makes the publication of this lengthy autobiography felicitous. If only the book itself were as serendipitous as the timing of its publication (right around Oscar time). Fonda has resolved to spare himself—and his readers—nothing. We learn in copious detail of his strained relationship with his famous father, a cold and disapproving presence in his childhood; the way that his mother drifted away from her offspring, eventually into a suicide that was hidden from Peter for many years; his constant womanizing; and the excesses of his drug and alcohol use. To his credit, Fonda is nothing if not candid, and he has the strength of mind to apologize when he feels an apology is merited. The lengthy section in the middle of the book on the making of Easy Rider is riveting. And Fonda reveals an unexpected talent for writing about the joys of sailing, one of his great passions. But too much of this book is a catalog of dope smoked, repetitious confrontations with authority in which the author always comes out on top, and encomia to his family and friends. Readers who believe that Easy Rider is one of the greatest films ever made will love this book. Others may wish to give it a wide berth. (16 pages b&w photos, not seen) (TV satellite tour)

Pub Date: April 6th, 1998
ISBN: 0-7878-6111-8
Page count: 512pp
Publisher: Hyperion
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 1998