If you ran into Stephen Tobolowsky on the street, you would not be mistaken: Yes, you’ve seen him before. A childhood dentist? A former geometry teacher? Your local florist? Tobolowsky is a character actor, one of the most prolific screen and stage presences of our time, having appeared in productions that range from Deadwood to Glee, from Mississippi Burning to Groundhog Day.
But Stephen Tobolowsky, it turns out, is not just an actor; he is also a dazzlingly talented storyteller and writer. He has earned a devoted base of fans for his original stories, told in front of live audiences as well as in a popular podcast. Now, for the first time, he has assembled those stories here. The result is creative mitzvah, a work of art, and a narrative feat that combines biography and essay, ranging in tone from the hilarious to the introspective.
To read these pages is to enter an astonishing world that, like all art, is universal yet individual, familiar yet disquieting. A dangerous world, indeed.
©2012 Stephen Tobolowsky (P)2012 Simon & Schuster
"Stephen Tobolowsky has found his true calling as a storyteller. He is candid, insightful, often profound, and very, very funny, especially when he recounts his adventures in show business. By blending sharp memories of his childhood with astute, adult observations of the world around him, he weaves a spell not unlike Jean Shepherd or Garrison Keillor… but he has a voice all his own, and I love it." (Leonard Maltin, film critic and author)
"I LOVE THIS!" (Sarah Silverman)
"Great storytelling, beautiful stuff." (Rian Johnson, director of The Brothers Bloom and Brick)
The Dangerous Animals Club is a fantastic book, both in audio format, as well as hardcover. If you're familiar with Stephen Tobolowsky or The Tobolowsky Files podcast, you'll immediately recognize these stories, albeit in greater detail / length. He also spins the stories together in more of a single timeline than with the podcast episodes, making the book feel more like one cohesive story, comprised of many smaller pieces.
If you're not familiar with his stories, you owe it to yourself to give this a listen. I've rarely (if ever) found such well-told stories that can make you laugh out loud and tear up at the same time. The manner in which the stories are told endear the author to the reader, making you connect to the stories personally. While immensely entertaining, the stories are filled with innumerable life lessons.
Having the stories read by the author makes this infinitely better. If read by anyone else, these amazing stories would have fallen flat.
All in all, The Dangerous Animals Club is story-telling at its best. I don't feel that there's much else to be said about this wonderful book, which will be reflected in the brief nature of the rest of this review.
I'm not sure what to compare these stories to. Other famous story-tellers like Garrison Keillor and Baxter Black are fantastic in their own right, but considerably different in their delivery and content.
I've really never seen / read / heard anything similar to these stories.
Absolutely, if given the time to do so.
Be aware that, while most are completely family-friendly, a couple of the stories contain some language that may not be appropriate for younger listeners, specifically "A Wager With Freddy." Great story, but you may not want to listen with young ears around.
I can't imagine this book as anything other than an audio book read by the author-- not surprising considering it was based on Tobo's podcasts "The Tobolowsky Files." The stories sound like they're being told casually by a friend, although they are clearly extremely well-crafted. Funny, touching, and more-often-than-not quite poignant. I can't decide if Tobo has led a captivatingly amazing life-- or if he's just a captivatingly amazing storyteller. Most likely a little of both. There's a "This American Life" feel to it— where both the strange and the mundane can lead to something bigger or deeper. If you like that show, you'll like this book. And if you don't like that show, then you're too cynical and/or hip for this book. And I feel sorry for you.
This book is a perfect example of the fact that most of us have an interesting life story, it's just in how you tell it. The stories in this book aren't, for the most part, told in any sort of chronological order. They all have a theme. It's a wonderful look into the life and history of Steven Tobolowsky. My only complaint (and the reason I gave Tobolowsky 4 out of 5 as a narrator) is that he can't do accents. That said, hearing him tell his own stories in his own voice was fun.
Thoughtful, wise, generous in its conclusions and full of the mystery of life. The author allows all kinds of intelligence to manifest and respect in his way of seeing the world and our life paths.
Thought-provoking, touching, funny…brilliant book wonderfully read by the author. Stephen Tobolowsky's stories are relevant even to those of us infamous people.
This book was just average for me. I expected it to be funnier I think. I had not heard of this author before and maybe those who know of his acting work will feel differently. There were a few inspirational tidbits; I enjoyed some stories and thought others were tedious. The narration was good as the author read it himself; that isn't always a good thing, but in this case, it worked. The story that most stood out for me was number 15. I found the story interesting and the lesson at the end was a good one.
Real; Life; Funny
Flea apartment at SMU.
Tobo's performane was clear, softly spoken and very humorous.
Tobo is a wonderful storyteller. I have listened to all of his pod casts, from one of which this book was written. Tobo is "every man" in the land of Hollywood, movie making, and stars, yet is a wonderfully accomplished actor in his own right. We grew up in the same neighborhood of Oak Cliff in southwest Dallas, so I recognized many of the same places, and remember some of the same great, innocent times.
No, one time through is enough
When I heard that Stephen played Stu, Marcie's husband on Californication it increased my level of enjoyment. It struck me as one of those "close to home" characters.
There are several moving moments in the book
Stephen comes across as a very clever and talented guy and an excellent story teller.
An Artists life.
The stories of his life are woven in such a way in and out of time. The life lessons and universal themes were enlightening.
He is the storyteller of his own life as an actor. As good an actor as he is he is a greater storyteller.
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