"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)
I wish I had read the reviews before purchasing this audiobook. I enjoyed the story very much, but wish I had known there is another version read by Alan Alda himself. Although Marc Cashman is a goood reader, I could here Mr Alda's style in the prose and kept imagining what it would be like to hear him read it. The material needs his unique way of delivering his lines to bring the story to life.
I wasn't reading as carefully as I should have been, before I hit the Audible purchase button. This is the version Not personally read by Alan Alda, so it was a bit of a shock when I started listening to the book last night. It is interesting so far, but it was a disappointment, as I am a very big fan of Mr. Alda's work and love to hear his voice. So, why are there two different narrations? I should have just borrowed the book from the local public library where I could imagine Mr. Alda's voice reading to me.
This book was OK, but definitely not a must read. The narration (although not Alan) was pretty good. The story itself was a little boring at times though. I'm a big fan of Alan the actor, but I don't care too much for his writing.
If you are expecting a tantalizing tell all, you will be sorely disapointed. Alda is merciful to his famous friends, mentioning them only to praise them. He is not nearly so kind to himself. He is honest in his portrait of his early life and the mental illness his mother suffered. All of the poignant episodes of this well loved actor's life are handled with grace and the famous Alda humor. I only wish that more time had been spent discussing M*A*S*H, which was perhaps his greatest contribution to popular culture. However all in all, this is a well done and witty memoir.
I have an hour commute each way to and from work. This was my first audiobook and, for the first time, I couldn't wait to get in my car to commute to/from work. I didn't mind the traffic jams, because it allowed me to listen to this story longer.
I probably would never have bought this in hardcopy book (I tend to be restless and can't sit still long enough to read), but I'm glad I picked this one as my first audiobook. I really enjoyed the story!
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.
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.
I mean really... He would have done a thousand times better job reading his own life. Not to mention adding the reality this book deserves.
The reader of this book tried to imitate Alan Alda's voice, and it was very annoying. I had a hard time getting through the book because of the narration. The book itself was disappointing, as I believe Alan Alda has much more depth than this book portrays.
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!
"would have been better read by the author"
Charming biography, but autobiography as an audio book needs to be read by the author, otherwise it loses something of its authenticity. I missed Alan Alda's distinctive voice on this.
"Could have been amazing. Sad shame."
Totally not impressed with the narrator. UGH. Could have been amazing.
I would have given it no stars if i could have. I want a refund!
"Read it don't listen"
Really enjoyed the biography of Alda which I found facinating. The book was full of humour and anecdotes but these were ruined by the poor timing and monotonous sounding voice of the narrator. Shame Alda had not chosen to read his own book.
"Like An Old Friend"
Whatever I was doing, driving, commuting or with feet up this was really like sitting in a comfortable old armchair, with a nice fine Malt or Cognac and just being taken on a journey in which you could have been there.
Nothing earth-shattering ever happens, no impossible crises, dramas or cliff-hanger-chapter-endings. Instead we role gently through some ups and downs of everyday life - getting close to bad times but then being swept back to good memories.
And so it's a peaceful refuge, happy endings just round the corner and with the energy and amiability of the persona of Alda that you see, whether promoting science or being an alter ego.
So, don't get me wrong, a lot has happened in Alda's life, but as a read, or an audio book, it is a gently rolling soap opera that pleases and delights.
It was over all too soon.
His cadence was just like listening to the author
"And Other Things I've Learned"!
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