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Publisher's Summary

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

Critic Reviews

"[Lear's] pacing and timing are excellent as he keeps the material fresh, his tone reflecting his memories as he recounts them." (AudioFile)

What members say

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  • Mo
  • Boulder, CO, United States
  • 12-17-14

Norman Lear-a timeless soul

What did you love best about Even This I Get to Experience?

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. <br/> <br/>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. <br/><br/>

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Listen!

I'm sure Reading this book would be great but hearing Norman Lear tell you about his life is pure pleasure!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Irene
  • Keller, TX, United States
  • 01-29-15

I got to Experience Mr. Lear's book!

Where does Even This I Get to Experience rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

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.

What other book might you compare Even This I Get to Experience to and why?

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.

What about Norman Lear’s performance did you like?

I really enjoy when the author reads the book. It gives the story depth and meaning. <br/><br/>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.<br/><br/>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.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I didn't cry. He had a tough life early but he told it well and lived it well.<br/><br/>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.<br/><br/>But I did laugh. Some of the stories he told were quite funny.<br/><br/>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. <br/><br/>Sometimes he would mention something and I would say, "He had his hands in THAT?" Like Princess Bride? Really?<br/><br/>So interesting! <br/><br/>And his undying involvement in liberal causes - no matter the costs. <br/><br/>His love of his country! Wow! <br/><br/>There was just so much. <br/><br/>The title of this book is perfect!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Captivating

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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I cannot express how much I loved it

Would you consider the audio edition of Even This I Get to Experience to be better than the print version?

Yes

What was one of the most memorable moments of Even This I Get to Experience?

the entire discussion was memorable. And I say discussion because that is how I felt. The entire book was just like we were siting in a room and Mr. Lear was telling me about his life. One of the best books and readings I have ever experienced.

Which character – as performed by Norman Lear – was your favorite?

He was transparently himself, and I loved it.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

yes

Any additional comments?

Norman Lear discussed his life in such a transparent fashion it was moving. I found my emotions welling up at a few points, and despite us coming from two very different generations, I related to his life in a way that was unexpected. As a result, I reflect on my own family in a different way. His passion is palpable, and while I did not want the book to end, Norman crafted an ending that left me standing in my kitchen (where I typically listen to audiobooks) in silence trying to absorb the experience. I will likely never have the chance to meet Mr. Lear, but if I did, I really want to hear his thoughts on the current political climate!

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I could listen to it again!

Norman is a true story teller and I was sad when it ended. What a life.

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Great for entertainment history in the US

An amazing and lucky life. Good use of referring back to stories at the end.

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A Joy To Share Decades With A Master!

If you could sum up Even This I Get to Experience in three words, what would they be?

This question again, really? I will use this space to say that this book covers decades in the industry and you learn from the great, gravelly voice of Norman Lear himself the love and triumphs of a life well spent for all of our enjoyment.

What other book might you compare Even This I Get to Experience to and why?

"My Happy Days In Hollywood" by Gary Marshall. Both do a great job of bringin you along for the ride.

Which character – as performed by Norman Lear – was your favorite?

Norman Lear.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The book overall is a great.

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  • Laurie
  • Florence, KY, United States
  • 07-16-16

Even this I didn't love

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.

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  • T. Gale
  • Laurel, Maryalnd
  • 05-30-16

Great journey with a great writer

Loved the stories about all the shows I grew up with written by a great storyteller.