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Never Have Your Dog Stuffed: And Other Things I've Learned | [Alan Alda]

Never Have Your Dog Stuffed: And Other Things I've Learned

He's one of America's most recognizable and acclaimed actors: a star on Broadway, an Oscar nominee for The Aviator, and the only person to ever win Emmys for acting, writing, and directing, during his 11 years on M*A*S*H. Now Alan Alda has written a memoir as elegant, funny, and affecting as his greatest performances.
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Publisher's Summary

He's one of America's most recognizable and acclaimed actors: a star on Broadway, an Oscar nominee for The Aviator, and the only person to ever win Emmys for acting, writing, and directing, during his 11 years on M*A*S*H. Now Alan Alda has written a memoir as elegant, funny, and affecting as his greatest performances.

"My mother didn't try to stab my father until I was six," begins Alda's irresistible story. The son of a popular actor and a loving but mentally ill mother, he spent his early childhood backstage in the erotic and comic world of burlesque and went on, after early struggles, to achieve extraordinary success in his profession.

Yet Never Have Your Dog Stuffed is not a memoir of show-business ups and downs. It is a moving and funny story of a boy growing into a man who then realizes he has only just begun to grow.

It is the story of turning points in Alda's life, events that would make him what he is, if only he could survive them.

From the moment as a boy when his dead dog is returned from the taxidermist's shop with a hideous expression on his face, and he learns that death can't be undone, to the decades-long effort to find compassion for the mother he lived with but never knew, to his acceptance of his father, both personally and professionally, Alda learns the hard way that change, uncertainty, and transformation are what life is made of, and true happiness is found in embracing them.

Never Have Your Dog Stuffed, filled with curiosity about nature, good humor, and honesty, is the crowning achievement of an actor, author, and director, but surprisingly, it is the story of a life more filled with turbulence and laughter than any Alda has ever played on the stage or screen.

©2005 Alan Alda; (P)2005 Books on Tape, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"A brief but entertaining autobiography tempered with humility and a depth rarely found in celebrity memoirs." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (333 )
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4.0 (71 )
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4.1 (70 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Jennifer North Tonawanda, NY, United States 10-14-10
    Jennifer North Tonawanda, NY, United States 10-14-10
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    2
    Overall
    "Great Book with one Major Flaw"

    I have been a fan of Alan Alda for years, I have enjoyed his work and I have wanted to know more about his life. This book was all that I could hope for and more. I learned not only things about Alda, but things about myself! I saw myself in his life and for a time almost forgot that it was his life I was listening about!

    The only flaw in this book is a major one though. Alan Alda DOESN'T read this book! Marc Cashman reads it instead. Cashman is a great reader, and I would be glad to hear him in another book, however, this is the story of Alan Alda and his life - he should read it! There were several spots in the book where Cashman almost becomes Alan Alda, but he never quite makes it. I don't think he quite understood what it meant to be Alan Alda and it shows through his performance.

    I can't speculate why Alda doesn't read this book, however, it does clearly hurt it. If he had read it, it might have been one of my all-time favorite books that I have purchased on Audible. Sadly, as it stands, it is only a good book. Which saddens me because I can see the potential for greatness.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gord Okotoks, AB, Canada 06-10-10
    Gord Okotoks, AB, Canada 06-10-10 Member Since 2015

    Avid reader/listener of just about anything.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    34
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    "Insightful, will make you smile"

    This book saved me a trip to the taxidermist!

    Alan Alda has always represented one of the good guys for me. M*A*S*H is an institution spanning several generations that will live on forever (thank-you syndication) and Hawkeye Pierce an institution to M*A*S*H, synonomous with laughter and a maybe even a little morality sprinkled in for good measure.

    In the role of this character, I've always felt Alda transcended acting. With Hawkeye Pierce, he was re-acting to the situation in Korea, and this is where the separation can be made.

    Of course this only represents a portion of his career, he's played many roles both big and small, in movies and in theatre and also found plenty of success as a writer along the way.

    NHYDS is a solid and insightful view of Alda's journey and is sure to have you laughing out loud more than a few times. You'll respect both the honesty as well as the modesty in his recounting of events and most likely, as others have commented, just wish that Alda himself had done the narration for this unabridged version.

    Finally, the advice is sage and sure to be a revelation to many: Never have your dog stuffed!

    How about the hamster?

    Maybe freeze-dried....

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tamara L. Brown Hilo, HI 11-29-07
    Tamara L. Brown Hilo, HI 11-29-07 Member Since 2014

    Tamara

    ratings
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    196
    1
    Overall
    "Cure for insomnia"

    This is the only audio book that I never finished ~ couldn't take anymore. Boring beyond belief. And I like Alan Alda.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Casey Phoenix, AZ, USA 11-02-07
    Casey Phoenix, AZ, USA 11-02-07 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    166
    ratings
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    107
    43
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    5
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    Overall
    "Isn't Alda an Actor?"

    Alda's book is in first person, but read by someone else. This was very confusing. It took me almost halfway through the book before I could hear Alda's voice in my head over the narrator. If he'd done his own narration (I can't imagine this to be a stretch -- he is an actor after all.), I would have given it a higher rating. It was entertaining and surprisingly introspective.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lori Midland, MI, USA 10-18-07
    Lori Midland, MI, USA 10-18-07
    ratings
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    1
    1
    Overall
    "Classic and Heartwarming"

    What a wonderful look inside one of the best actors of our time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michele 07-08-06
    Michele 07-08-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    30
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    "Love Alan Alda"

    This is a great biography. Mr Alda's wit shows throughout this book. It is a neat opportunity to get to know some of the inside of the actor as a person growing up and some of the presonal struggles he triumphed over.

    I would highly recommend this for anyone that enjoys the works of Alan Alda.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alex Miami Springs, FL, USA 03-29-06
    Alex Miami Springs, FL, USA 03-29-06 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not Bad but…"

    I usually prefer unabridged books but in this case the abridged version is better. The reason it is better is not the abridgement but the narrator. The guy narrating this book is ok, but when Alda reads it he gives it much more life. Alda is a bit full of himself, but what do you expect from an actor's "autobiography?" If you haven't already bought this version I suggest you get the abridged version narrated by Alan Alda indstead. I have both and that one is better by far, unless you don't like Alda's voice.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    M. S. Cohen New York, NY USA 01-25-06
    M. S. Cohen New York, NY USA 01-25-06 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    212
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    "Great autobiography, but..."

    This is everything that an autobiography should be. A good story filled with anecdotes, feelings, and behind-the-scenes information.

    There's just one thing missing. Where's Alan? I don't understand why Mr. Alda didn't read his own audio book.

    I know he's quite busy, but this would have made the book much more enjoyable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MBeth 01-10-06
    MBeth 01-10-06 Member Since 2012
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    289
    3
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    "Toothsome mind stuffing anyway"

    Alda's book is as pleasant as he appears in person on TV. Ever the gentle person, he never gossips about movie people, much as he must know his readers would like to hear it. He does, however, provide a list of movie stars he has kissed. His word pictures of his life create a clear picture of a show business life (from birth on) that has been lived without sensation. I enjoyed his wonderful humor and love of language.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Valerie Rock Springs, WY, USA 12-23-05
    Valerie Rock Springs, WY, USA 12-23-05
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    1
    Overall
    "Amazing!"

    I was amazed at how good this book was. He is not self-serving as most celebrities are and he actually has quite a bit of insight into things. It grabbed me at the start and kept me interested.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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