The dynamic and always controversial television producer shares 50 years of show business and politics, with all the candor and wisdom expected from the creator of All in the Family
The legendary creator of iconic television programs All in the Family, Sanford and Son, Maude, Good Times, The Jeffersons, and Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, Norman Lear remade our television culture - while leading a life of unparalleled political, civic, and social involvement. Sharing the wealth of Lear's 90 years, Even This I Get to Experience is a memoir as touching and remarkable as the life he has led.
In the 1970s, Lear's comedies were viewed by 120 million people per week - yes, 120 million - with stories that reflected the most serious issues of their lives and still left them howling. But before this, Lear led a charmed life throughout postwar Hollywood's golden years, befriending the likes of Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks; writing and directing Frank Sinatra, Robert Redford, Dick Van Dyke, and Martha Raye; becoming the highest paid comic writer in the country while working for Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin. Not to mention, Lear flew some 50 bombing missions over Germany with the 15th Air Force.
Shamelessly in love with the country the Founding Fathers laid out for him while his own father was serving time, Lear won the first American Legion Oratorical Contest speaking about the Constitution. He later founded People For the American Way, a national organization to protect the civil rights and liberties of us all, and bought an original copy of the Declaration of Independence, printed the night of July 4, 1776, not to hang on a wall in his home, but to travel across the country to schools, and libraries, and public institutions to be shared with citizens everywhere.
©2014 Even This, LLC (P)2014 Penguin Audio
"[Lear's] pacing and timing are excellent as he keeps the material fresh, his tone reflecting his memories as he recounts them." (AudioFile)
Norman Lear's new book, "Even This I Get to Experience," is a thoughtful and well-written book. Instead of reading it, I listened to it because Norman was actually reading his own audio book. Hearing him tell his own story is like sitting at the foot of a wizened elder as he peels back the decades of learning, struggles, accomplishments, and love. Norman's not only a brilliant writer and spell binding story teller, he speaks with a convincing simplicity lodged between emotion and matter of fact objectivity.
At times I found myself learning, laughing, and sometimes blushing. I loved his family stories, career highs and lows, and his ceaseless desire to make the world a better and more interesting place. He speaks bluntly about his failed marriages, divorce, business failures, world issues, and more. Even better, he talks about what worked in his life, his love for his wife Lyn, and his unrelenting positive views on life. It's so unusual to listen to a 90 year old man whose agile mind operates at a 40 year old person's level of creativity. Norman Lear is a timeless soul.
This was truly one of the best books I have ever listened to. I could not wait to get back to the earphones or car to pick up the story. He lived so many different lives getting to where he is.
I don't listen/read too many autobiographies, and never of people who are alive! So I have no books to compare this one to.
I really enjoy when the author reads the book. It gives the story depth and meaning.
I believed Mr. Lear when he told the stories. I didn't like him when he told some of his family/personal stories. I am not a fan of men who cheat on their wives. I am not sure he would call his years-long affair with his third wife "cheating" but it just sat all wrong with me, personally. This had nothing to do with his performance, but it made him more real.
One thing that was a little distracting was his voice. It was cracking and somewhat hard to listen to, I think because of his age. I wouldn't have wanted anyone else to read the book but it did take a while for me to settle into his voice.
I didn't cry. He had a tough life early but he told it well and lived it well.
I got angry at his character, like I said, about his cheating. I don't care how magnanimous he felt he was "staying with his second wife", cheating is cheating.
But I did laugh. Some of the stories he told were quite funny.
And I found myself caring deeply about the people who played some of my favorite funny people on TV in the 70s, 80s. Like Jimmie JJ Walker and his relationship with TV mom and dad -- Esther Rolle and John Amos. That was a sad story. And how Rob Reiner has been a part of Mr. Lear's life for ~ 50 years.
Sometimes he would mention something and I would say, "He had his hands in THAT?" Like Princess Bride? Really?
And his undying involvement in liberal causes - no matter the costs.
His love of his country! Wow!
There was just so much.
The title of this book is perfect!
As I listened to the final words of this book I did not want it to end. Norman Lear's life is simply one that is unparalleled. Not only did he change the face of our most important medium, television, the way he describes the intertwining of his professional and personal life provides insights into the human condition that all who listen to this masterpiece cannot fail to benefit from. Thank you Mr. Lear for sharing your remarkable life with us.
Overall, this was just an OK book for me. I thought it was a little slow in the beginning, although I did not really know his backstory regarding his father. Then toward the end, I thought the book dragged a bit. And while I am usually all in favor of the author narrating his or her own autobiography, listening to a 93 year old read for hours on end was somewhat taxing.
I work in the entertainment biz - so I figured that I could learn a ton listening to the story of a master like Norman Lear. I was right about that but it was not so much the entertainment biz that I have learned in the company of Mr. Lear but life itself. The struggle to succeed, managing all the complexity that success brings, and finally being grateful for all of it is a lesson that I take from this book. Respect for the constitution, believing the best about others - even when you disagree with them, gratitude as the simplest definition of worship, and the value each of us place on our "sacred honor" is something we can all hold up as human beings and be proud of. Cheers Mr. Lear - may your days be long and blessed.
As an author myself, dyslexic, and ADD, I need something that grabs me. Non-fiction on things of interest to me, educates, & titillates.
So many of the changes of the human condition during the 60's,70's, and 80" are played out on TV sitcoms, made iconic because they were developed and written by Norman Lear.
Norman Lear narrating the book and how he came up with the concepts of the shows
Norman Lear brings himself, wide open and vulnerable.
It made me do both, laugh and cry
LOVED IT! LOVED IT! Will read it again
From the beginning, I was fascinated by Lear's story. He did more than tell a story--he wove together a fascinating montage of his personal and professional life. The back story to his extensive career and shows was great as I loved all of his TV shows.
Katherine Graham's autobiography was similar in that I learned about both her personal and professional life, and she wove together a fascinating story. I enjoyed Lear's book in this same way.
In spite of having an old guy voice, he made the story come alive. His engagement with his own story really made it come alive. I could tell that he really enjoyed his life, all 90 plus years of it!
There were so many, but I think that the part of his life in WWII was most moving, especially considering his later life as a very liberal figure. He still considers his job as a bombardier as an important way that he fought for our freedom.
I loved this book. As he progresses through his life and career, he pulls in pieces from his shows to illustrate how he lived his life.
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