"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)
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.
70 year old grandmother of 2 teenagers. Still working in real estate appraisal field, live in OH and SC - spend time listening & traveling.
Alan Alda has to be the most self-centered, cocky individual on the planet. I always liked him and thought he had to be like "Hawkeye" - funny, smart, happy go lucky, charming - but he came across as a man who was spoiled from childhood and put himself ahead of his wife and children at every turn. After listening to his book, I simply don't care for him at all. What a stretch it must have been for him to play such a nice guy on "Mash" all those years!
Despite other listeners' negative reviews, I had some expectations of entertainment from this book. However, I found the story to be somewhat thin and repetitive, with the author a little whiny (so you had a bad childhood - get over it already and move on with your life!). I don't think a different reader (or Alan himself) could have breathed much more life into this stuffed dog.
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