Alan Alda has written an interesting memoir about a remarkable childhood. It's hard to imagine a childhood so alien, so removed from mainstream American culture, surrounded by naked women and bawdy vaudeville comics, spent on trains rattling around the country in the middle of the night, from one seedy venue to the next. I really got a feel for the experience listening to this book. What I find really compelling, however, is the self-deprecating humor sprinkled throughout the book. As a Hollywood memoir Alda is refreshingly honest and introspective about his talents, his intellect, and his ego. His frustration and frequent anger towards his mentally ill mother is presented very candidly. And he doesn't take himself too seriously. At times this is laugh out loud hilarious.
I do wish Alda had read the memoir himself, however, because he has such a distinctive writing voice, and his voice itself is so familiar from all those years on television, that it's frankly weird hearing someone else's voice telling his life in the first person. The only way I can describe the reader of this book's voice quality is, if Martin Sheen was really really gay, he'd sound like the guy that read this book. That's not a slur, just an observation. I'm gay myself.
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