"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.
"A brief but entertaining autobiography tempered with humility and a depth rarely found in celebrity memoirs." (Publishers Weekly)
Avid reader/listener of just about anything.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This book was very different from the comedy I expected. It is primarily the autobiography of Alan Alda and his immediate family. He really opens up to all the good and bad that he went through. I expected to hear a lot about his TV and movie career but that was limited. The book was fascinating until he got to MASH. At that point it got less interesting. Wisely he spent relatively little time on his Hollywood career and lots on his struggles to get there.
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